Congratulations to Mpfumeri Errence Baloyi and Solly Sifiso Cossa – Pretoria, South Africa – from MobiElectro, the winner of the Best Use of Open Data category in the Durban AgriHack Challenge! The GODAN prize provides MobiElectro with 3000 euros cash and 2000 euros for equipment (material, hardware, software).
Valeria Pesce (GFAR), lead jury member for the open data category, provides the details of the selection process. MobiElectro was selected because of the creative use and immediate application of data to a real-life problem that affects productivity and livelihoods. The team built a water monitoring system that tells the farmer when to water plants or even does it for them if set in automatic mode.
The value of this application in terms of open data is that besides the locally monitored data (water level, temperature, UV light), other variables that determine when a plant should be watered (e.g. plant-specific water needs, weather predictions) are imported from external datasets (FAO Land and Water, CCAFS).
The team is already considering the addition of other data (e.g. nutrients).
Photos by Mixo Ngoveni @4otune @Geekulcha.
Additionally, the data collected locally are also re-exposed and fed back to the system and could potentially be fed to other systems. MobiElectro also sees a potential use the application as a benchmarking tool to compare predicted open data with actual monitored data.
This water monitoring system is an example of precision agriculture, which the team is keen to enrich with other variables and sensors in the future. The application allows farmers to control their irrigation systems and manage field watering remotely. MobiElectro already has plans to sell the application directly to farmers.
AgriHack is implemented as part of activities of CTA’s “Youth, ICT and Agriculture” project ARDYIS (Agriculture, Rural Development and Youth in the Information Society).