For immediate release: 17 May 2018
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – 17th May 2018, –/ African Press Association (APA) /, Customised internet of things (IoT) solutions can assist the agricultural sector to alleviate the growing trend of livestock theft and provide farmers with the tools to enable them to conserve water without compromising the productivity of the soil.
MTN Business has been sharing these insights with farmers at NAMPO taking place in Bothaville in the Free State this week. NAMPO is a significant annual gathering where food producers and other role players in the agricultural industry have the opportunity to experience the latest technology and products on offer in the farming industry first-hand.
Sunette Els, General Manager: Free States Regional Operations at MTN Business says that its anti-rhino poaching solution that is currently in a fully operational pilot phase at Welgevonden Game Reserve can be adapted to monitor and track livestock, providing a viable and cost effective solution to livestock theft.
According to Statistics SA, an estimated 25 000 livestock, mostly cows, were stolen from owners in 2016. South African Police Service statistics showed that 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% of cases going unreported.
The costs paid by farmers to improve security has taken priority over financial planning meant for food production. While farmers previously had to deal with petty thieves who stole few livestock, they now contend with sophisticated syndicates who steal truckloads of livestock at a time.
“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,” says Sunette.
“Using MTN’s expansive network, the solution can transmit critical data on animal movements. This provides information on any unusual movements in a game park or on a farm, signaling the presence of thieves in real time via a secure and dedicated wide area network server. One of the key findings from the pilot at Welgevonden is that animals react differently to different stimuli. 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.”
Sunette adds that connectivity solutions are not only limited to tracking animals, but can 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.
A report by the WWF has painted a bleak picture of the availability of arable land in South Africa, noting that climate soil combinations have left only 12% of the country suitable for the production of rain¬ fed crops, with only 3% considered to be truly fertile land.
“It is for this reason that MTN Business has developed a soil monitoring solution that gives farmers the tools to improve soil production. This technology gives farmers the ability to conserve water by prompting them to irrigate the soil when the soil falls below a certain hydration level. In addition to monitoring soil moisture levels, the solution also looks at the composition of the soil for levels of acidity, phosphate and so on, and suggests corrective interventions. This can be monitored at a single site or over large areas, which enables farmers to develop and implement holistic soil and water strategies,” says Sunette.
Last year MTN Business partnered with Huawei to launch their smart watering solution. This enables utilities to remotely collect consumption data and bill accurately. It also identifies leaks in the system and assists in controlling water wastage.
“Although this solution is currently earmarked for municipalities, we believe that it can be adapted to the agricultural sector and assist farmers to use water more economically. We are willing and able to work with farmers to create customised solutions in this space,” says Sunette.
She concludes: “We are really only scratching the surface of how far reaching predictive analytics, cognitive computing and Big Data can empower farmers to address some of the challenges they face. As a company with the most expansive, best in class network, and a footprint spanning across 22 markets in Africa and the Middle East, MTN is best positioned as the partner of choice for the agricultural sector. We are a partner that can help improve food security, ramp up agricultural production and provide viable solutions to address the challenges affecting the sector.”
Distributed by African Press Association (APA) on behalf of MTN.
FOR MORE MEDIA INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Bridget Bhengu: Senior Manager – PR and Communications, MTN SA Cell: 083 212 1964 / E-mail: Bridget.Bhengu@mtn.com
Mamello Raborifi: PR Manager, MTN SA
Cell: 083 214 5681 / E-mail: Mamello.Raborifi@mtn.com
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