Climate change and dependency on rain-fed farming strongly affect yield production. Smart irrigation can help to overcome these dependencies and to ensure food security. In this article, we introduce an IoT-based smart irrigation system that will assist Rwandan farmers in using the right amount of water and fertilizers for the crops.
The Agriculture industry is continuously experiencing a renewal of technology development. Now and more than ever, consumers can use smart farming products based on advanced technology. For example, smart irrigation systems water landscapes efficiently. Without wasting water, these systems use technology to know when and how much to irrigate.
The days of consulting clocks and calendars are over. We are now using real-time data to apply the right amount of water, at the right time of day, and all year around. In detail, this works as follows: Sensors interact through WiFi with an app to automatically adjust watering schedules. Moreover, the system communicates with the user about any problems and gives consumers more power to control the irrigation system. By investing in smart irrigation technologies, we can be sure to save water, money, and time in caring for our farms’ landscapes.
Understanding crop conditions to adjust farming measures
For the purpose of locally developing a prototype for smallholder farmers in Rwanda and the region, RISA had reached out to the DigiCenter and the Rwanda-Israel Horticulture Center of Excellence. The purpose of the prototype is to better understand farming conditions and to test the system in a controlled environment. Furthermore, it aims at collecting data and checking the needs of a Smart Agriculture Systems (SAS) product for local consumption.
The SAS is a customized open-source hardware powered by solar energy. Additionally, the system is scalable and adaptable, using 3G connectivity for remote updating capability, real-time SMS alerting, and automated reporting tools.
What does the future of smart farming in Rwanda look like?
The overall ICT development in Rwanda currently uses the Smart Rwanda Master plan (SRMP) 2015-2020 as guidance. This strategy underlies the overarching aspiration of Rwanda to become a knowledge-based economy.
In view of the SRMP, Smart Irrigation projects like this one fall under the Agriculture Growth Management System which is one of the six priority projects under the Agriculture pillar. Particularly, this pillar focuses on enhancing production and productivity in farms using sensor network technology.
In the future, the SAS will concentrate on low-power wide-area network protocols, automated setups, and on-device visual alerts. This will help farmers even more to make data-driven decisions with the potential to lower costs and increase yields.
If you are interested in getting to know more about the Smart Irrigation System or other digital solutions we support at the Digital Transformation Center, get in touch with us and follow us on Social Media.