Liquid Telecom Kenya, part of Liquid Telecom, 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, which has been 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, which fell by 17% in 2017, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
“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% 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, who initiated the AquaRech project and partnership, as the founder of a local fish farming group RioFish. “Our sensors transmit data to the cloud, where it is processed before sending specific instructions to farmers on the timing and quantity for feeding.”
Liquid Telecom Kenya is continuing to roll-out its Sigfox IoT network across Kenya which is being used for a range of IoT applications. In December, the company partnered with Africa’s largest non-profit civic technology network Code for Africa (CfA) to install air quality sensors at 3,000 sites across Kenya, following warnings that air pollution is killing more than 20,000 Kenyans a year.
“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. “This partnership is a great example of how our networks and innovative IoT solutions are helping to transform industries and businesses across Kenya.”