Solution for sustainable irrigation and use of nutrients for smallholder sugarcane farmers

Enabling small sugar cane farmers to practise precision farming and more sustainable use of water and fertilisers.
Solution for sustainable irrigation and use of nutrients for smallholder sugarcane farmers

Due to excessive extraction of water from the aquifers, the groundwater level drops to an irresponsible level. Because too large amounts of nitrogenous fertilizers are applied to the land, the soil becomes impermeable and it loses its absorption capacity. These phenomena threaten the survival of the small sugarcane farmers.

About IoT

IoT (Internet of Things) makes it possible for small farmers to conduct precision farming. This means that they are able to determine very precisely when and where exactly the land should be irrigated, how much water is sufficient and where it is best to pump it up from the soil. The farmer knows this because data about, for example, soil moisture, groundwater level, crop status and climatic data are measured, stored and analyzed in a database by sensors in the field. In this way, the farmer can also know where and when the application of fertilizer is most effective. This avoids excessive use of (nitrogenous) fertilizers and pesticides. With the help of logarithms, specific assignments / advice are given regarding irrigation and fertilization. The results can be assignments that tell the farmer via an app on his smartphone, what action he should take. With the same app, the farmer also operates the pumps and valves, for example. It is also possible to operate these devices automatically. This allows the farmer to teach the administration of water and nutrients more precisely, "smarter". By using groundwater more economically and efficiently, the groundwater level is saved. Likewise, by using nitrogen fertilizers efficiently and sparingly, the pH reduction of the soil is counteracted and thus soil changes that prevent the growth of the crop.

Other information

IoT Caribbean is helping to introduce new technologies and smart innovations and is convinced that it offers opportunities for emerging economies. The company is a specialist in sensor technology and cloud services and is based in Suriname. It brings new (IoT) technologies within reach of small-scale farmers to enable them to produce more sustainably. Innovative and wireless IoT solutions can give the data infrastructure and economy a huge boost and serve sustainable value chains. In collaboration with the agro company GreenBorne, it is developing a smart farming concept with the aim on sustainable farming, for small rice farmers using IoT and sensor technology.

The technology: IoT and LoRa

A suitable technology to collect, store, process and analyse this precision information is IoT. IoT is connecting and communicating all kinds of devices such as sensors, switches, smartphones and processors via a LoRa network. By installing a number of network devices (gateways), a LoRa network is set up. LoRa stands for long range network and is intended for equipment that does not constantly need an internet connection, but does occasionally need to pass on some data. With LoRa, said devices can talk to the internet without having to use 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi. Connection to the electricity network is not necessary and the battery consumption is very low.

The Method: Living Lab

When introducing innovative technologies, such as IoT, it is best to enter into a partnership by setting up a living lab. A living lab is the development of smart, innovative applications in a "real-life" environment. The involvement of users, supply companies and regulatory and social organizations in the innovation process is essential in this respect. All participants are brought into contact with each other to achieve an optimal learning effect.

Working in this 'testing ground' will greatly increase the effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of the product and service. The living lab is based on two criteria:

1. Collaboration (co-creative). IoT Caribbean will work together with the end users (sugar cane farmers), government, knowledge institutions and other relevant (suppliers) companies and social parties;

2. Innovation. Focus on developing innovative solutions for the qualitative and quantitative improvement of the sugar cane production of small and large producers. Quantitative improvement mainly focuses on revenue. In terms of quality, we mean sustainability, such as reducing water use, CO2 emissions and limiting the use of fertilizers and pesticides.

Contact details

IoT Caribbean NV

Adress: Tawajarieweg 123, Lelydorp, Suriname, South-America

Contact person: John Pel, Business Development / Sales & Marketing

+31 6 24581583

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