The lack of accurate and timely information, is a big challenge for food producers in developing countries. To make the right decisions, they need real-time updates on the status of crop fields and the surroundings. The rice farmer of the future will be assisted by an agri-information solution in the form of a smartphone app which provides satellite data, field data & on the ground observation data. After two intensive years, a Dutch-Vietnamese consortium has now made this utopian idea reality in the SAT4Rice project.
Last Tuesday, the Sat4Rice smartphone app was released in a celebratory event in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The ‘Farmer Friends’, a testing group that has been involved since the early development presented the app. These Farmer Friends are enthusiastic field extension workers connected through rice producing cooperative Loc Troi Group. As a group of over a thousand officers, they travel through the Mekong Delta to advice rice farmers on cultivating rice, including uses of fertilizer and pesticides. The Sat4Rice app helps them to get a more accurate status on the rice growth process, risks for pest and diseases and Mekong river flooding risks. Using weekly updated high-resolution satellite images, the app is their set of ‘eyes’ on the Mekong Delta region. With intuitive maps and specific information down to field level, the app is literally their digital companion when on the road.
Sat4Rice caught the interest of many organizations, like IFC, GIZ and DARD’s of all 13 Mekong delta provinces. Representing the Government of the Netherlands, consul-general Carel Richter, emphasized in his key-note the long-standing relationship of the Netherlands and Vietnam on agriculture and water for many years. He stressed that current effects of climate change threaten the crucial role of the Mekong delta region as the ‘rice bowl’ of South East Asia, and the need for solutions is vital.
Whereas the app provides useful advices on the ground, the GIS cloud platform is an immense asset for large scale food production, according to dr. Duong Van Chin of Loc Troi Group. Accurate monitoring of rice growth for the whole region on field level opens up great gains in efficiency. Not only the use of inputs can be optimized, also resources like machinery and labour can used more effective. The key to this technology is an online geo platform named ‘Lizard’. This platform allows real-time integration of data sources ranging from measurements to satellite images in Google Maps-like spatial databases. On top of this apps can be developed, where the Sat4Rice smartphone app is one of the practical applications. Additionally, reporting and Monitoring & Evaluation tools are available for institutional use.
Chairman of Loc Troi Group, Mr. Huynh Van Thon, concluded the ceremony with his remarks, that digitalization and information technology is one of the cornerstones for improve sustainable rice production in Vietnam. By pioneering in developments like Sat4Rice, Loc Troi Group is taking a leading role in this. Now, Sat4Rice is ready to look for partners in maximizing the impact of the technology available.
Part of the Geodata For Agriculture and Water (G4AW) programme, the project is co-funded by the Netherlands Space Office and private parties both in Netherlands and Vietnam. Please visit https://sat4rice.wordpress.com to find out more.
Alternatively, get in contact directly with Alexander Hoff (email@example.com)