RCAI Team visits Gadap Town in December 2016
On 26th December 2016, KFRL Team along with their two supervisors of the project; Dr. Khurram and Dr. Saqib visited farms in Gadap Town. The project Irrigation 4.0 is a collaborative start-up project among Koshish Foundation Research Lab and DFKI (German Institute of Artificial Intelligence) with the aim to optimize and effectively manage water resource used for irrigation purpose in Pakistan. Pakistan is an agricultural country and approx 21% of its GDP and 43.5% employment depends on agriculture. The major problem faced by farmers is unavailability of enough water resource.
We are actually looking forward to provide a optimal solution to farmers in Pakistan that increases crop yield and reduces water usage (more crop per drop). The idea is, using different wireless sensors we will monitor environmental data affecting the crop using and provide only the required amount of water to crop and no more.
This short trip help the team realize how large the problem is and that an efficient solution can bring great change in agricultural sector of Pakistan. The main aim of the visit was to gather information about the parameters that can have a significant effect on system directly or indirectly. There is a large amount of land available for architecture but unfortunately not all of it is being used for cultivation, Why? Because although farmers have all the basic facilities e.g. seeds, fertile land and tractors but there isn’t enough water. The farmers in Gadap Town are quite literate, they try to keep up with international trends to make sure their crop is of excellent quality, they have even installed drip irrigation system in the whole area to ensure that no water is wasted as that in surface or flood irrigation but even then they have water shortage and they are very determined and enthusiastic in installing a system that can optimize water usage even more, that is they are quite willing to make their irrigation system smart.
The farmers explained the entire system to us, starting from the water that is drawn by the motor to irrigation well after being filtered then it is supplied forward to required area of crop. These farmers are expert in growing papaya, bitter gourd, spring onion and green chillies (all fresh and healthy, we even tried some). They follow the principle of crop rotation and grow some hybrid kinds of above crops as well.
For now we are focusing and testing our system on bitter gourd/bitter melon crop (also known as karela) but our system is generic, in case of change of crop or location all that has to be done is to change system inputs after a little study. The first comparative results are expected by March 2017, we plan to visit again for deployment of more nodes.