Successful Deployment of a Wireless Sensor Network for Precision Agriculture in Malawi

Mafuta, Million and Zennaro, Marco and Bagula, Antoine and Ault, Graham and Gombachika, Harry and Chadza, Timothy (2012) Successful Deployment of a Wireless Sensor Network for Precision Agriculture in Malawi, Proceedings of 3rd IEEE International Conference on Networked Embedded Systems for Every Application (NESEA), 13-14 December, Liverpool-UK.

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This paper demonstrates how an Irrigation Management System (IMS) can practically be implemented by successfully deploying a Wireless Sensor Network (WSN). Specifically, the paper describes an IMS which was set up in Manja Township, City of Blantyre based on an advanced irrigation scheduling technique. Since the system had to be self-sustained in terms of power, which is a challenge for deployment in rural areas of developing countries like Malawi where grid power supply is scarce, we used solar Photovoltaic (PV) and rechargeable batteries to power all electrical devices in this system. The system incorporated a remote monitoring mechanism through a General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) modem to report soil temperature, soil moisture, WSN link performance and PV power levels. Irrigation valves were activated to water the field. Our preliminary results have revealed engineering weakness of deploying such a system. Nevertheless, the paper shows that it is possible to develop a robust, fully-automated, solar powered, and low cost IMS to suit the socio-economic conditions of small scale farmers in developing countries.

Item Type: Conference paper
Uncontrolled Keywords: WSN deployment, precision agriculture, soil moisture, solar ower, water scarcity
Subjects: Computer systems organization
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2012
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2019 15:33

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