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Smart-ICT for irrigation and flood advice to smallholders in Africa


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Delivering detailed, bespoke field and water information from satellites to farmers in Africa via mobile phones is now a reality. This pilot project in Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt tests the concept using the Fieldlook system.

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Smart-ICT for irrigation and flood advice to smallholders in Africa

  1. 1. Photo:DavidBrazier/IWMIPhoto:TomvanCakenberghe/IWMIPhoto:TomvanCakenberghe/IWMI Water for a food-secure world Smart-ICT for Irrigation and Flood Advice to the Smallholders in Africa Bharat Sharma, Lisa M-Rebelo, G. Simons, Giriraj Amarnath, 1International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Sri Lanka; 2eLEAF Competence Center, The Netherlands and partner institutes
  2. 2. Water for a food-secure world Water is an increasingly scarce input in agriculture in Africa. • The challenge is to increase agricultural production while reducing water consumption. Smart and affordable technologies need to be adapted to customize farm management for smallholders. • Tools that can monitor plot specific information and generate advice shall be helpful.
  3. 3. Water for a food-secure world • Satellite images are increasingly being used to assist commercial farmers and agribusinesses • Innovative approaches and ICT based technologies • Advice to end users for: • informed decision making • enhanced negotiation capacity with water and farm related service providers What are the opportunities to use ICT to increase agricultural productivity?
  4. 4. Water for a food-secure world The Underlying Principles • Satellite measures radiation from the sun (visible, NIR, SWIR) and earth’s surface (TIR) • Coupling between atmosphere, vegetation and soil • Different types of surfaces have different spectral signatures
  5. 5. Water for a food-secure world Data Production: Remote Sensing • Temperature is a function of evapotranspiration • SEBAL solves the energy balance based on satellite information and weather data and computes ET as a residual: ET= Rn – G – H • Dry matter biomass production is calculated based on the present vegetation cover and the fraction of incoming net radiation available for photosynthesis
  6. 6. Water for a food-secure world Area Country Start date End date West Nubaria Egypt 2012-05-01 2013-11-01* Arata Chufa Ethiopia 2012-10-15 2013-04-15 Gash Delta Sudan 2012-07-01 2012-12-30 Gash Delta Sudan 2013-07-01 2013-12-30 The country sites in Africa Egypt Ethiopia Sudan
  7. 7. Water for a food-secure world Data production • ET, Biomass Production and related parameters are calculated spatially discrete for all three project areas, based on high-resolution 20m DMC images • Instantaneous data (valid for the moment of satellite image capturing) are converted to weekly products for the pre-defined seasons • This procedure is repeated every week: keeping track of the varying crop water conditions throughout the season
  8. 8. Water for a food-secure world Internet Dissemination Website with map server & Irrigation forecast tool Calibration and validation Crop water consumption Irrigation forecasts In situ data collection Block delineation by farmers Meteo data Earth observation data DMCFengYun MODIS MSG SMS to farmers cell phone Data processing (NL) Basic EO data processing Sophisticated data processing Meteorological data processing SMS Gateway Smart ICT Operational Process
  9. 9. Water for a food-secure world Smart ICT FieldLook web portal • Based on the eLEAF FieldLook platform which has operational versions in multiple countries • • Newly developed features include: - Interaction with data received by SMS - Oromiffaa and Arabic language - Suitability for managing multiple fields of individual farmers under 1 account (advisor functionality) - Adjusted design for slower connections - Custom parameter pack, including flood data (Sudan)
  10. 10. Water for a food-secure world Smart ICT: FieldLook content • Growth • biomass production (kg/ha) • leaf area index LAI (m2 leaf/m2 ground) • vegetation index NDVI • Moisture • evapotranspiration deficit (mm/week) • current evapotranspiration (mm/week) • water use efficiency (kg/m3) • reference evapotranspiration • Nutrients • Nitrogen content in the top leaf layer (kg/ha) • Nitrogen content in all leaves (kg/ha) • Inundation (Sudan) • Irrigation Planner
  11. 11. Water for a food-secure world Smart ICT: FieldLook web portal MyFields overview page of, displaying biomass production for March 21 – March 27, 2013 of maize farmer Ibrahem Abdel-Halim Hasanen - Example parameter: biomass production - Feb 2013: winter season underway, biomass is increasing - Spatial biomass production is non-uniform - Remote sensing: Scan of current situation, cause is unknown - Could be: difference in soil type, malfunction in irrigation system, different crop variety, diseases, etc. - Irrigation extension can contact farmer based on anomalies
  12. 12. Water for a food-secure world Web portal: observations • Per area, 60 pilot farmers have been subscribed • Pilot farmers are subscribed through centralized accounts – used as addition to regular extension services • Less suitable for reaching smallholder farmers directly • Other users: research institutes, government agencies, commercial agri-business, insurance firms
  13. 13. Water for a food-secure world Smart ICT: SMS service • How to go from spatial information (FieldLook) to text-based SMS? • What information to provide? Many parameters in FieldLook + Irrigation Planner • Quantitative or qualitative information? eg. “487 kg/ha biomass production?” or: “above average biomass production?” • Options for setting up the operational SMS service: “push” vs. “pull” • Timely information delivery: interactivity is required Farmer Adel receiving a text message about his emerging maize field
  14. 14. Text message: From: <Mob. number> IrriLook <Fieldname> -i 25 To …. Check: <Mob. number> in Database? From: FieldLook Please register … To <Mob. number> Irrigation Server Check: <Fieldname> in Database? Update system Run real-time calculation Extract: Fieldname(s) from user from database From: Fieldlook We have the following fields registered … To <Mob. number> Farmer From: Fieldlook <Fieldname> data/advice To <Mob. number> On demand SMS information + Date Provision to system - Real-time Tool calculation free free free Determine: data/advice from calculation results From: FieldLook <Fieldname> Please try again later… To <Mob. number> Option F
  15. 15. Smart ICT SMS service 1. Fieldlook information - field-average biomass production and water use efficiency - cumulative values related to the average value for the same crop and the same week of the growing season - on-demand and weekly ‘push’ - Ethiopia: qualitative only, Egypt: quantitative and qualitative 2. Irrigation advice on demand - updated daily based on Irrigation Planner 3. Farmer inputs on irrigation amounts for running the Irrigation Planner - full, medium, low Performance biomass growth since start season for Wheat: similar to average of all Wheat fields. Advice 12/03/2013 potatos: Irrigate in 3 or 4 days.
  16. 16. Water for a food-secure world Smart ICT SMS service • Simplified: One- or two-letter codes to match farmer SMS skills • SMS logs are monitored to identify problems at the farmer’s end (technical or in understanding of the service), and the local project partners are notified • Specifics have been changed throughout the season to match user feedback, feedback from local partners and observations from the SMS logs • Evaluation of the service in Ethiopia is currently on-going after the end of the growing season, in cooperation with the local partner • SMS service in Egypt is still in progress (2nd seson), SMS service in Sudan is operational for the 2013 flood/ kharif season
  17. 17. 0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25 0.3 SoilMoistureLevel(cm3/cm3) Date Hashamia10 - Soil Moisture Levels Original Irrigation Scheme Soil Moisture (cm3/cm3) Field Capacity (cm3/cm3) Plant Water Stress Point (cm3/cm3) Wilting Point (cm3/cm3) 0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25 0.3 SoilMoistureLevel(cm3/cm3) Date Hashamia10 - Soil Moisture Levels AlternativeIrrigation Scheme Soil Moisture (cm3/cm3) Field Capacity (cm3/cm3) Plant Water Stress Point (cm3/cm3) Wilting Point (cm3/cm3) Name Irr_total E_tot T_tot ET_tot Emax Tmax percolation NDVI_max Soil type [mm] [mm] [mm] [mm] [mm] [mm] [mm] [-] [-] Hasha10_new 450 68 168 236 1.9 3.2 252 0.65 Sandy loam Hasha10_alternative 209 68 168 233 1.9 3.2 0 0.65 Sandy loam Irrigation planner: impact example
  18. 18. Water for a food-secure world Achievements and Future Plans • Production of field-specific spatial data related to water consumption and crop growth. • 180 Pilot smallholder farmers and additional users are supplied with these data weekly through Smart ICT channels. • Development and continuous improvement of Web and SMS system based on feedback from users and local project partners. • Participating in capacity building of smallholder end users. • Developing business and upscaling plans.
  19. 19. Water for a food-secure world Thank you!