A software developer and entrepreneur has invented an agri-tech system called Farmru, to change the mindset of farmers to smart farming.
Tsedzuluso Netshimbupfe, from the village of Tshimbupfe in Thohoyandou, Limpopo, working with his business partner Lufuno Mbau, said the device was meant to help farmers move away from subsistence farming to commercial farming.
The Tshimbupfe area is dry and food security is a growing concern for villagers. The Farmru system assists by saving water and maintaining optimal soil quality for the production of healthy crops. It monitors the environment and executes tasks using a low-cost micro controller device.
The controller is connected to soil moisture, humidity and light sensors that monitor the environment and trigger automatic irrigation only when it is required, to save water and maintain optimal soil quality.
The system also collects data over time which can be used to determine the ideal conditions for a variety of crops.
"We first mooted the concept three years ago. We've been toying with the idea [with Mbau] until the first prototype was completed last year," Netshimbupfe said.
"Most farmers have limited information when it comes to aspects such as water pH balance, the fertility of the soil and soil types, air and light. All they know is putting fertiliser into the soil and cultivating. Farmru is about to change the old ways of farming."