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How SMS irrigation scheduling can save water and improve livelihoods of Smallholder Banana Farmers

Updated: Sep 16

Using Climate Edge’s platform Cranfield Universities irrigation scheduling models are now reaching smallholder farmers in Colombia!


A few days ago, Cranfield delivered its first batch of irrigation scheduling messages to a small group of smallholder banana producers in Santa Marta, Colombia. These messages were delivered through a phone call to make sure that the message was clear and the farmers had a chance to provide feedback. Once this initial user testing is complete, the messages will be automatically delivered via SMS using Climate Edge’s Platform. For the first time farmers without access to the internet and smartphones can receive this valuable information.


This 18 month long project is funded by Innovate UK and is a collaborative effort of Climate Edge, Cranfield University, Environment Systems and the social foundation FUNDEBAN of Tecbaco, a Colombian Banana Exporter.


The objective is to test and implement a new irrigation scheduling service for smallholder banana growers. With the data from remote (satellite) and ground based (weather stations) data collection a crop growth model will calculate the water deficit in the soil and the recommended irrigation schedule. This data will then be delivered to farmers in form of a simple text message.


The plan is to scale this service up to a large amount of growers and increase the productivity of the farms while reducing input costs, water consumption and nutrient loss caused by excessive irrigation.


This is one example of how Climate Edge translates complex agricultural models into a scalable product that can be delivered through accessible SMS format. This approach ensures that smallholder farmers worldwide can benefit from these services. This project specifically focuses on the Colombian banana export market, however, the technologies being implemented could be readily extended and applied to other regions and crops in the future


More about this project:

Colombian banana growers to use irrigation mobile app (Cranfield University)

KTN Winning projects announced for the Agri-tech Catalyst Colombia competition


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