2018 Digi Winner
FlaveDor, Moldova Competitiveness Project; USAID Moldova

The Digital Development Awards (The Digis) recognize USAID projects and activities that embrace best practices in the application and utilization of digital technologies and data-driven approaches to achieve their development objectives. We are proud to recognize previous Digis winners and their work to embrace best practices in the application of digital technologies and data-driven approaches to achieve their project's development objective.

The Challenge

Moldova has a growing wine industry, employing over 200,000 people and making up five percent of the country’s exported goods. However, this otherwise thriving industry is threatened by Flavesence dorée (F. dorée), a contagious, incurable pathogen that impacts approximately 20 percent of vineyards in the region. While the contagion can be isolated, the manual process of inspecting and testing each vine is a long, laborious one, allowing the pathogen time to spread and spoil the crop that so many in Moldova depend on as their source of income.  

 
Photo Credit: USAID

The Approach

FlaveDor activity, funded by USAID’s Moldova Competitiveness Project, uses drones and GIS data to digitize the vineyard inspection process, allowing farmers to quickly inspect, identify, and isolate vines infected by F. dorée. Through the use of a specially designed drone and software system, the program can quickly scan all vines in a given area, pinpointing specific plants infected with the pathogen. Thanks to a cloud-based image processing software, it then shares that vine’s location with the grower so a sample can be taken and tested to confirm infection. This streamlined process has been tested in other countries and is a proven method to save time, money, reduce pesticide use, and increase the accuracy of detection, with an 85 percent success rate in neighboring countries.  

 
Photo Credit: USAID/Moldova

Why It Won

Through this innovative use of technology, remote sensing and data analysis, FlaveDor is protecting and strengthening the Moldovan wine industry and its segment of the economy. The improved detection methods provided by these technologies help growers prevent harvest loss caused by F. dorée by 40 to 80 percent and improves the overall quality of their crop. The new tool is also used to detect vegetal growth for vineyards and other crops. This technology has also catalyzed a partnership between the program and Moldovan government, with the technology now managed by Moldova’s National Office of Vine and Wine, a public-private partnership, which oversees all vineyard production in close partnership with the regional winegrowers associations. The Office hopes that it can expand FlaveDor beyond the initial pilot phase and become a sustainable nationwide solution to the challenges F. doree causes in the Moldovan wine industry.  

 

Photo Credit: USAID/Moldova