Optimizing the use of water for drip irrigation
Wireless sensor technology, adapted to local climatic conditions, alerts small producers in the semi-arid regions of Burkina Faso to the best time to irrigate, according to the plants’ needs, resulting in higher yields and water saving.
The Info4Dourou2.0 project, launched in November 2011, is an R&D project led by the Cooperation & Development Centre (CODEV), funded by the EPFL, the SDC (the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation), and private foundations. Developed in partnership with Sensorscope, an EPFL start-up, this new technology is based on low-cost wireless weather stations that automatically broadcast reliable data. Hydrometeorological measures are made available to local users in real time through the mobile telephone network and a Web interface: www.climaps.com.
Field trials under real conditions since 2012
Compared to traditional irrigation, the drip irrigation system helps save water, but knowing the precise moment when crops need to be irrigated contributes to further reduce water consumption. Supplying water to the crops in the quantities needed and at the right time, helps to prevent crop losses, to preserve water resources, and to optimise yields. Since 2012, the field team has conducted experiments in open fields on ten sites in Burkina Faso in order to quantify the impact of this water optimisation system for agriculture. This has been done in partnership with the following Burkinabe partners: International Development Enterprises (iDE), an NGO active in the promotion of drip irrigation kits, with the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Institute of Environment and Agricultural Research, the Directorate General of Meteorology, and producer associations.
A local business for the sustainable ownership of technology
A local business is now emerging, with the objectives of local production, and the installation and maintenance of equipment. Placing the equipment on the market is key for long-term and sustainable ownership of technology by the users, and this is one of Info4Dourou 2.0’s priorities today.