Agri Business

HPE Centre brings tech to ground, helps AP farmers reap gains

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on June 23, 2020 Published on June 23, 2020

The HPE Centre of Excellence (CoE) for IoT-based agriculture in Gudipalli, Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh, has enabled local farmers to increase crop yields, nutritional value, and revenue from their produce by applying technology.

A spokesman for Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) said that the CoE was designed and implemented by the HPE Pointnext Services Global Customer Solution Centre, Bengaluru. It aims to upskill students in areas of Internet of Things (IoT) and programming to improve employment prospects and also supports local farmers to help them achieve higher food production from finite land resources.

Differentiated experience

As part of this initiative, students from nearby colleges have had the opportunity to work with IoT experts from the HPE Pointnext Services Global Centre and certified agronomists on edge-to-cloud technology.

Ramji Raghavan, Founder and Chairman, Agastya International Foundation, said that the endeavour has always been to encourage differentiated learning experiences.

“We are proud to offer these through this CoE in partnership with HPE. The artificial intelligence and machine-learning work achieved as part of this initiative has immensely helped the local students and farming community,” he added.

The solutions included edge compute (HPE Edgeline EL300), onsite IoT modules, drone imaging and analysis, a user interface and dashboard for monitoring and reporting of various on-ground parameters and activities at the fields. Images from drones and satellites are used to plot NDVI (normalised difference vegetation index) to demonstrate how it can be applied when scaled to larger farms.

Current soil conditions

The technology and deep learning analytics were deployed to improve the farmers’ decision-making capabilities by providing them visibility into the current conditions of soil and by modelling possible future trends, the HPE spokesman said.

By working with the students, farmers were prescribed the amount of water to be released and the type of manure to select using nine different metrics such as values of NPK, soil moisture, leaf wetness, acidic value, soil temperature and soil humidity captured by the IoT modules.

This ensured the irrigation on the fields was based on scientific recommendations and the correct manure and fertiliser were used according to the soil type and weather conditions. The machine learning algorithms were used to test the soil conditions resulting in approximately 40 per cent savings in the water consumption when compared to traditional methods.

Remotely monitoring crops

The CoE also helped the farmers during the lockdown by enabling them to remotely monitor the crops and make decisions related to the irrigation, soil treatment, nutrition and harvesting without the need to visit the fields.

Sanjay Mujoo, VP, HPE Pointnext Services, said that technology has the potential to increase the efficiency, quality, and sustainability of agriculture across the country. “We are enabling farmers to access the requisite digital tools, which can help them make informed decisions. The CoE reinforces our commitment to advance the way people live and work,” he added.

Currently covering 2.5 acres of land, the CoE will continue to assist them as the sowing season approaches. HPE also intends to scale the CoE to help address additional challenges.

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Published on June 23, 2020
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