Scientists from Meru University of Science and Technology have come up with a mobile irrigation application that is set to cut down on the losses farmers experience when it comes to water crops from 70% down to 10%.
The mobile app is set to monitor the need for water in the farm as well as control the irrigation equipment in order to deliver the needed water.
Mr. Daniel Maitethia who is an electronics lecturer in the university says that the traditional method of watering crops using cans and buckets is inefficient since it does not supply water evenly to the crops as some may get too much others too little.
The irrigation app is sensor based and automatic. The sensors are placed throughout in a field so as to determine the moist level of the soil. If it happens to be too dry, a control unit that uses solar panels open up the valve of a water tank and close once it is damp enough.
The app was first tested at the university’s farm and after being satisfied with the results, it can now be rolled out to the public. The application and the irrigation system come at a cost of US $480 for a quarter an acre which also includes the solar panels and drip irrigation lines.
Costs and benefits
Whereas the initial cost of set up may not be affordable to most Kenyan Farmers, the system will save costs in the long run. It will be able to cut down on wastage of water and also save the labour costs since farmers are not required to be physically present to monitor.
In addition, it has proven to increase one’s harvest as one farmer says that his harvest compared to previous years is substantial.