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Farmers in Western Kenya test IoT to monitor health of fish ponds

The sensors send information and feeding instructions to farmers through an Android and iOS app called AquaRech, developed by the Kisumu innovation technology hub LakeHub and developers Pinovate./FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 26Liquid Telecom Kenya, has deployed an Internet of Things (IoT) network in Western Kenya and Nyanza to monitor and protect freshwater fish populations.

The company has connected ten pilot-phase sensors that monitor water temperature and pH values in ponds.

The sensors send information and feeding instructions to farmers through an Android and iOS app called AquaRech, developed by the Kisumu innovation technology hub LakeHub and developers Pinovate.

The partnership plans to equip 5,000 western Kenyan farmers with the sensors and app by the end of 2019.

There are some 20,000 fish farmers in western Kenya with an average of 2 ponds each and around 2,400 fish per pond.

The programme will eventually be rolled out to 30,000 fish pond farmers countrywide helping to increase fish production.

According to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, fish production in Kenya fell by 17 percent in 2017.

“This is one of a series of partnerships we are developing to increase the country’s food security as part of the government’s big four agenda,” said Sajid Ahmad Khan, Chief Operations Officer, Liquid Telecom East Africa.

Using IoT-connected sensors to calculate optimal feeding times was found to reduce fish deaths by 30-40 percent in a one-year study in Iran by information technology company Afarinesh Samaneh Mehr Engineering Co. (ASM).

“Farmers have been closing down ponds and setting aside fish production as they struggle to feed fish correctly due to changing temperatures and conditions,” said Dave Okech.

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“The sensors transmit data to the cloud, where it is processed before sending specific instructions to farmers on the timing and quantity for feeding,” Okech added.

“AquaRech offers the hope of delivering thousands of tonnes a year in increased fish production, putting farmers back into a sector many have abandoned on the challenges of adapting feeds,” said Adil El-Youssefi, CEO of Liquid Telecom East Africa.

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