Smart Water Management Platform : IoT-Based Precision irrigation for Small and Medium Scale Farmers
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) the world’s population is set to grow from 6 to 9.1 billion by 2050; a situation that will require food production to rise by 70% in the developed world and double in developing nations. Here is water is one of the most important issues, due to ever‐increased demand and limited supply where agriculture is the main water user. The Internet of Things (IoT) in agriculture involves the use of highly interconnected sensors and information in the measurement of farm variables. This kind of precise data allows farmers to make informed decisions regarding irrigation. Given that there are approximately 500 million small and medium-scale farmers (SSF) around the world where women are significantly are involved, enabling them to take up IoT technology could be useful to ensure the food demands and less resources consumption. Owing to this, IoT in agricultural water usage will have the greatest impact on solving the arid and semiarid water crisis. The objective of this platform is to contribute in introducing implemented IoT that adequately meet the needs of small and medium-scale entrepreneurial farmers to increased water productivity in agriculture, and increased income and food security to have secured water access for agriculture production and become more resilient to climate change.
|16:30 - 16:40||Opening Remark||Dr. Hossein Dehghanisanij, Associate professor, Agricultural Engineering Research Institute, AERI, Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization AERI, AREEO, Iran|
|16:40 - 17:10||Water use challenges in small and medium-scale farms/ Advantages of IoT by examples and application in Urmia River Basin in Iran|
|17:10 - 17:40||Introduction to FruitLook: eLEAF & PiMapping, A services to improve the water use efficiency||Dr. Ali Mohammad Sharifi, X-associate professor, ITC, University of Twente, the Netherlands|
|17:40 - 18:10||The use of smat technologies and institutions for small-scale irrigation schemes in Southern Africa||Prof. Henning Bjornlund, University of South Australia, Adelaide, ,South Australia, Australia|
|18:10 - 18:30||DISCUSSION||All speakers|
Water use challenges in small and medium-scale farms/ Advantages of IoT by examples and application in Urmia River Basin (Dr. Hossein Dehghanisanij, Agricultural Engineering Research Institute, AERI, Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization, AREEO)
This presentation introduced the importance of the agricultural sector as the main water user and raised up the challenged related to the small and medium landowners regarding water management. An application by name of AgriHydro introduced which is based on crop soil-crop-water relationships. An idea to bring different research outputs to the farmers land rather than just water. Accordingly, the farm specification monitor and irrigation scheduling deliver to the farmers. It does not cost for farmers and could handle by all the farmers. AgriHydro was applied in tomato and grape farm in Urmia Lake Basin in farmers farm and showed water use by farmers decreased significantly compared to the farmers' experience application.
Introduction to FruitLook: eLEAF & PiMapping, A services to improve the water use efficiency (Dr. Ali Mohammad Sharifi, ITC, University of Twente)
This presentation briefly introduced PiMapping and its potential application in the smart management of natural resources, in particular water resources. Furthermore, it presented/demonstrated Fruitlook system which is an example of real application of satellite-based system in the management of Horticulture, in South Africa.
The use of smart technologies and institutions for small-scale irrigation schemes in Southern Africa (Prof. Henning Bjornlund, University of South Australia)
This presentation reported on the introduction of a two-pronged approach to improving the productivity and profitability of small-scale irrigators and their irrigation schemes in Southern Africa. The two prongs of the approach were the introduction of smart water management technologies in the form of soil moisture and nutrients monitoring tools to facilitate farmer learning about the soil nutrients and moisture dynamics to improve farmers decision making around irrigation and fertilizer management. The second prong was the introduction of smart institutions to facilitate that the learning from the tools are translated into changed behavior and to identify and help resolve other barriers to improved productivity and profitability such as the supply of better quality inputs such as improved seed, chemicals and fertilizer to improve yield and facilitate a better integration of farmers into the value chain and linking them to markets to facilitate that the increased productivity is turned into increased profitability
The objective of this platform was to contribute in introducing implemented IoT that adequately meet the needs of small and medium-scale entrepreneurial farmers to increase water productivity in agriculture, and increased income and food security to have secured water access for agriculture production and become more resilient to climate change. Three different techniques were introduced; AgroHydro, Fruitlookm, and smart technologies and institutions for small-scale irrigation.
- AgriHydro application could improve the irrigation water management by farmers and water application by farmers decreased significantly compared to the farmers experience application
- Demonstration of a real application of satellite-based information system supporting farmers in managing their water and horticultural resources in a user-friendly and economically affordable fashion. Such data can not be easily available in an operational manner using conventional systems.
- Satellite-based technology has become available to provide real-time information on the complex processes that are taking place in the surface of our plant, in a user-friendly and economically affordable fashion. This information can be used to support management of our natural and water resources at local and regional levels.
- Farmers responded very quickly to the learnings from the tools. The learned that overirrigation resulted in leaching of fertilizer below the root zone so that their crops could not benefit from the plant food. Hence the reduced the number of irrigation events during the season. They also reduce the time the irrigated. This led to immediate significant yield increases.
- Farmers also quickly experience that by irrigating less they also saved time, which is probably the scarcest resource for small scale farmers in southern Africa. They invested this time bout in on-farm and off-farm activities.
- Under technology application, extension officers reported that they have never seen the fields so clean of weeds as farmers used some of the saved time for weeding. Less weeds reduce the competition for both water and nutrients and further increased yields.
- They also used the time to diversify their income stream by starting small businesses such as hairdressing, baking and the making of mud bricks. This provides important cash income to buy more input which in turn also increases yield.
- Apart from improving the livelihood of small-scale farmers, all introduced tools are also WIFI enabled and uploads the data to the clouds. As such, they generate a meta-database of real in-time farm/farmer level information on water use, yields and gross margin, from across the world. Such databases will have significant value for water planter and funders both a local, national and global level. However, for the tools to provide this data on an ongoing basis, smart institutions are also needed to ensure that the tools are correctly installed, used and maintained and they are fixed when broken. Without such institutions or processes in place the use of these tools will cease or the data uploaded will be inaccurate
- Agricultural is the main water user in all the countries and must be considered in any activity regarding less water use and improving water use efficiency.
- An important message for policymakers considering investing in new irrigation schemes or rejuvenating existing schemes is that simply addressing technical issues and investing in hardware will not resolve the issues related to underperforming irrigation schemes. It is critical to also resolve the other issues which present barriers for farmers to increase their productivity and profitability such as market access, transport, knowledge, and finance.
- For people intending to introduce smart water management technologies in developing countries the introduced projects illustrate the importance of introducing smart institutions parallel with smart technologies to ensure that the technologies are adopted, used and maintained so they have intended impact both for the individual and institutional users
- The satellite-based technology can be combined with actual measured field data and produce a very powerful means to provide reliable and affordable data supporting management of our natural resources.