Successful deployment of a wireless sensor network for precision agriculture in Malawi
journal contributionposted on 17.10.2017, 15:25 by Million T. Mafuta, Marco Zennaro, Antoine B. Bagula, Graham W. Ault, Harry S.H. Gombachika, Timothy Chadza
This paper demonstrates how an irrigation management system (IMS) can practically be implemented by deploying a wireless sensor network (WSN). Specifically, the paper describes an IMS which was set up in Manja township, city of Blantyre. Deployment of IMS in rural areas of developing countries likeMalawi is a challenge as grid power is scarce. For the systemto be self-sustained in terms of power, the study used solar photovoltaic and rechargeable batteries to power all electrical devices.The systemincorporated a remote monitoring mechanism through a General Packet Radio Service modem to report soil temperature, soil moisture, WSN link performance, and photovoltaic power levels. Irrigation valves were activated to water the field. Preliminary results in this study have revealed a number of engineering weaknesses of deploying such a system. Nevertheless, the paper has highlighted areas of improvement to develop a robust, fully automated, solar-powered, and low-cost IMS to suit the socioeconomic conditions of small scale farmers in developing countries.
The authors of this paper would like to thank the Community Rural Electrification and Development Project funded by the Scottish Government through the University of Strathclyde for providing the equipment deployed in this study. This paper was partly supported by the project “Secured quality of service aware wireless sensor networks: toward effective network and energy management” funded by a Grant fromthe South African National Research Foundation.
- Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering