IoT based solution for Urban Farming

January 04, 2024

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IoT based solution for Urban Farming

Overview

This was a joint project completed by King Abdalaziz University, Saudi Arabia and Nodes Digital Limited. The project was funded by Ministry of Education, Saudi Arabia under the Institutional Fund Projects Grant “IFPIP: 1401-120-1443”.

Development of a “green economy” which incorporates circularity and agriculture is a key theme identified for mitigating the economic and environmental crises the world is facing currently. However, green growth and sustainable development is not possible without urban areas playing a central role. The project investigated the feasibility of IoT based roof-top farming in Dhaka, the overpopulated capital city of Bangladesh with tomato cultivation as a use case.  

 

Technology

Rapid urbanization is stretching the urban food supply systems in mega cities like Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh where population density is extremely high. In addition, agriculture land in Bangladesh is shrinking and hence it is an ideal location for implementing roof-top farming. Furthermore, use of IoT and 4IR (Fourth Industrial Revolution) technologies can enable city dwellers to engage in roof-top farming. As more and more people settle in cities as a result of urbanization, demand for fresh food is getting extremely high. People are interested in rooftop gardening as a source of fresh food and recreation but lack of proper knowledge and monitoring of soil parameters make it difficult to grow food in rooftop. Nodes Digital Ltd indigenously designed, developed, assembled, and trialed and experimented with IoT based agriculture system to generate real-time farming data in rooftop setting.

 

Results and Impact

Use of IoT and 4IR technologies can enable city dwellers to engage in roof-top farming. However, despite the enormous potential there is dearth of commercial activities and research in this regard. The findings of this research indicates that IoT based roof-top farming can enable city dwellers to engage in agriculture activities without much hassle and help make supply chain shorter and circular; improve gender balance and help mitigate climate change effects. There are approximately 450,000 roofs, covering 4,500 hectares that are underutilized in Dhaka city.  Even if tomato is cultivate in 20% of rooftops with 40 plants per roof-top that could result in yield worth Tk 777,600,000 (Taka 776.6 million approximately) or $7.07 million in just one season. In order for uptake of roof-top farming in overpopulated city like Dhaka where householders are mostly working people, IoT technology based farming solutions are required. There needs to be market ready commercial IoT based software solution which will empower city dwellers who are busy with their work life with real-time agriculture decision support and actions.

 

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