Towards improving prediction accuracy and user-level explainability using deep learning and knowledge graphs: A study on cassava disease

Tek Raj Chhetri*, Armin Hohenegger, Anna Fensel, Mariam Aramide Kasali, Asiru Afeez Adekunle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Food security is currently a major concern due to the growing global population, the exponential increase in food demand, the deterioration of soil quality, the occurrence of numerous diseases, and the effects of climate change on crop yield. Sustainable agriculture is necessary to solve this food security challenge. Disruptive technologies, such as of artificial intelligence, especially, deep learning techniques can contribute to agricultural sustainability. For example, applying deep learning techniques for early disease classification allows us to take timely action, thereby helping to increase the yield without inflicting unnecessary environmental damage, such as excessive use of fertilisers or pesticides. Several studies have been conducted on agricultural sustainability using deep learning techniques and also semantic web technologies such as ontologies and knowledge graphs. However, the three major challenges remain: (i) the lack of explainability of deep learning-based systems (e.g. disease information), especially to non-experts like farmers; (ii) a lack of contextual information (e.g. soil or plant information) and domain-expert knowledge in deep learning-based systems; and (iii) the lack of pattern learning ability of systems based on the semantic web, despite their ability to incorporate domain knowledge. Therefore, this paper presents the work on disease classification, addressing the challenges as mentioned earlier by combining deep learning and semantic web technologies, namely ontologies and knowledge graphs. The findings are: (i) 0.905 (90.5%) prediction accuracy on large noisy dataset; (ii) ability to generate user-level explanations about disease and incorporate contextual and domain knowledge; (iii) the average prediction latency of 3.8514 s on 5268 samples; (iv) 95% of users finding the explanation of the proposed method useful; and (v) 85% of users being able to understand generated explanations easily—show that the proposed method is superior to the state-of-the-art in terms of performance and explainability and is also suitable for real-world scenarios.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120955
Number of pages20
JournalExpert Systems with Applications
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2023


  • Agricultural sustainability
  • Cassava
  • Deep learning
  • Explainable AI (XAI)
  • Knowledge graphs


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