by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – CUSTOMISED internet of things (IoT) has been identified as the solution to the growing trend of livestock theft and provide farmers with tools enabling them conserve water without compromising productivity.
This has emerged from the National Maize Producers’ Organisation (NAMPO), a significant annual gathering of food producers and other role players in the agricultural industry in South Africa.
The event is held in Bothaville in the Free State.
Sunette Els, General Manager: Free States Regional Operations at MTN Business, said the company’s anti-rhino poaching solution currently in a fully operational pilot phase at Welgevonden Game Reserve in Limpopo could be adapted to monitor and track livestock, providing a viable and cost effective solution to livestock theft.
“We have learnt important lessons from the pilot at Welgevonden Game Reserve that can be adapted to assist farmers to monitor and trace their livestock,” Sunette said.
“There is little doubt that connectivity-based solutions like cloud computing, IoT and cognitive computing can be harnessed to effectively solve the challenges that farmers face on a day-to-day basis.”
According to Statistics SA, an estimated 25 000 livestock, mostly cows, were stolen from owners in 2016.
South African Police Service statistics showed stock theft was one of the most common crimes in the Free State and Eastern Cape, but had also increased in the North West, Mpumalanga and Gauteng, with more than 70 percent of cases going unreported.
Sunette added that connectivity solutions could also be used to manage dwindling water supplies and boost productivity of soil.
South Africa is ranked as one of the most water scarce countries in the world, with the average rainfall of 490mm – half the world average.
MTN Business has developed a soil monitoring solution that gives farmers the tools to improve soil production.
The technology gives farmers the ability to conserve water by prompting them to irrigate the soil when the soil falls below a certain hydration level as well as monitoring soil moisture levels.
Last year MTN Business partnered with Huawei to launch a smart watering solution, which enables utilities to remotely collect consumption data and bill accurately.
It also identifies leaks in the system and assists in controlling water wastage.
Although the solution is currently earmarked for municipalities, it can be adapted to the agricultural sector.
“We are willing and able to work with farmers to create customised solutions in this space,” Sunette said.
– CAJ News