It will be interesting to see how the Liquid Telkom IoT solution for Twiga Foods scales
Imagine you had access to Laplace Demon, not for the entire Universe, but at least specific to your business, and this business is a farm. For those unaware, Laplace Demon is a supercomputer like demon that knows the location and motion of every single atom in the entire universe, whereby the demon can not only tell with 100% accuracy the past history of all those atoms combined, but their future trajectories too. To such a demon, what you will eat for breakfast tomorrow is not a mystery. Of course quantum mechanics came along and threw Laplace demon out of the window.
But people haven’t stopped trying to create micro versions of Laplace Demon applicable to a specified domain, and that’s why at the moment the hottest research is any research involving AI, and big data. One of the domains where people are attempting to know each variable that contributes to the behavior of parameters of interest is Agriculture, and Precision Agriculture is the name that has been given the endevevaur.
More precisely, Precision Agriculture is a concept concept based on observing, measuring and responding to inter and intra-field variability in crops (or animals). From practical point of view, Precision Agriculture is the implementation of sensors to a farm for collecting as many data types as feasibly possible. The data types can include “crop yield, terrain features/topography, organic matter content, moisture levels, nitrogen levels, pH, EC, Mg, K, and others” – then the data collected from these sensors are scientifically used to optimize the productivity of the farm.
Questions such as when to add water, fertilizer, treat the crops with a pesticide or insecticide, and the several other crop management problems are promptly addressed. Precision Agriculture thus provides the farmer with the ability to to apply precise and correct amount of inputs like water, fertilizer, pesticides etc. at the correct time to the crop for increasing its productivity and maximizing its yields, and this is what Liquid Telecom intends for Agriculture players like Twigger Foods to achieve with its Precision Agriculture technology.
This is after Liquid Telecom deployed four different types of agriculture sensors: a comprehensive weather station, soil moisture, and temperature probes, borehole water meters, and sensors for measuring irrigation water acidity and salinity at Twigger foods.
“These sensors provide critical information to the Twiga agronomy team. The smart weather station provides real-time data that helps farm managers deploy the most effective farming methods for irrigation and the application of pesticides. Furthermore, the water quality sensors provide specific metrics that help the team to optimize their fertilizer application. Additional data gathered and monitored on a real-time basis include temperature, humidity, rainfall, and wind speed”, said Liquid Telecom CEO East Africa Adil Youssefi.
It will be interesting to see how Twigger Foods become competitively advantaged, as this would force competing agricultural enterprises to also adopt the IoT in their process, otherwise they will not be able to catch up and Twigger Foods. And it is not just those who directly compete with Twigger Foods that find it necessary to shift to Precision Agriculture, but even those in separate areas will see how useful the technology is, and adopt it to improve efficiency in their Agricultural production.
“Increasing business efficiency through digital solutions is one of the main reasons we partnered with Liquid Telecom. By using smart devices, we have automated multiple processes across the farm’s production cycle. For example, the use of soil probes in monitoring the soil moisture in the expansive farm has resulted in an efficient use of water, as irrigation is only done when the soil moisture level is low. I would encourage other farms to also deploy IoT solutions to aid in food security for our country”, said Peter Njonjo, CEO, Twiga Foods.
Wide adoption of Precision Agriculture will come along way in improving productivity in our farms. As has been noted, up to 80% of farm outputs are lost largely thanks to leaving the farms in the mercies of nature – but as we all know nature doesn’t care whether a farmer has invested millions of shillings in the crops or asked God for protection. Once Precision Agriculture increases farm productivity, the Agricultural sector can thereafter have confidence of ensuring food security for the country.