Adviser tool for irrigation and fertilizer

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: Pascal Deloche/Godong/Panos

New tool advises users on irrigation, fertiliser needs

“It calculates water demands at different periods of the crop season.” – Peter Okoth

by Dorcas Odhiambo

Speed read

  • Africa’s agriculture growth suffers from lack of data on water needs of crops
  • A new tool developed in Kenya aims to help farmers compute requirements of crops
  • But an expert says it fails to give location-specific climate change information

Farmers in Africa are set to benefit from an online tool offering advice on services such as irrigation and fertiliser use.

The internet portal known as Smart Irrigator computes crops’ daily water requirements.

According to Peter Okoth, Kenya-based consultant in research and agronomy and one of the brains behind it, the technology which was launched on 8 September aims to increase efficiency of irrigation systems.

“It calculates water demands at different periods of the crop season,” Okoth tells SciDev.Net, noting that “the tool considers factors such as rooting depth and the maximum allowable loss of water.”
Okoth, says that users and farmers can register their names, location, soil texture, date of planting in the portal while also selecting crop of choice for irrigation water advice. “The information is sent to the subscribed farmers’ phone in text form [and] the farmer pays a monthly fee of US$5-10 to obtain the data and information.”

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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