Chapter 5.2 AWD sensor reflection 5.2.1 producers What do

Chapter five: AWD sensor implementation

5.1 motivational factors AWD

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5.1.1 push factors

Why choosing sensor, what factors could convince
farmers to use AWD

Goal of implementing an AWD sensor is making it easier for
rice farmers to control and measure the ‘safe zone’ water level. This change
would make it AWD more accessible for farmers to adopt this irrigation method.
Creating efficient data gathering is another push factor, manual measurements
are prone to data error and losses. Extra efficiency can reduce the time
farmers have spent on irrigation practices, time they can spend on other
practices. Extra efficiency can also decrease irrigation water needed on the
fields. A lot of farmers are not directly connected to irrigations networks and
depend on small water pumps which have high costs to use. Decrease of
irrigation water applied on the rice field means reducing capital being spend
on fuel for the pumps. 

5.1.2 pull factors

Why not, why not using the current AWD
measurement system?

AWD sensors are very expensive for a small rice farmer.
Selling AWD sensors to farmers who don’t have a lot of money does not make any
sense at all. Recently the Duterte administration has removed all irrigation
fees. Because of this new policy selling sensors to farmers who don’t pay for
their irrigation water does also not make sense. Although the current company
working on AWD sensor prototypes have been busy for some years now, there is no
finished product yet. Some flaws keep popping up during testing. For example;
contact between the sensor and the sent mast gives errors, water gets inside of
the tube(electronics are very sensible for water)etc. So the sensor itself is
finished. Even if the sensors are as efficient as studies find(source), a lot of questions need to be answered in
order to have an idea of how profitable the sensor could be for a farmer. 

5.2 AWD sensor reflection

5.2.1 producers

What do current producers of sensor have to say,
what are problems at the moment, what is the improvement

After testing and discussing the AWD sensors, a summary is
made. Advantages and disadvantages of different material options are
considered. The current sensor is still in development phase, which means that
the sensor has some things which could still be improved. TechAguru the producers
of the sensor, provided some feedback about the technology.  Sensor battery should have a longer battery
life. At the moment the sensor sends a pulse with data including water height
every hour for example. During a battery life the sensor is able to send about
10000 pulses. Techaguru proposes to change this in order to gather the data
more efficient. Send data only when data changes. Since the water level does
not significantly changes over a couple of hours, changing the data gathering
could be a smart move.

Signal could not be measured if distance is
increased(starting from 2km)

During the test phase carried out at PhilRice fields, it was
found that the current sensor prototype is not completely waterproof.
Electronic components inside the sensor were not damaged yet. However when
looking at the long term,  sensors should
be sustainable and function for a long period of time in order to be worth the
investment. Water inside the sensor could lead to defects.

Selling alternate wetting and drying sensors to farmers who
almost pay nothing for the irrigation water does not make any sense. Until
recently farmers had to pay a fee in order to be able to receive water from
irrigation systems. However, the Duterte government removed the irrigation fees
to make irrigation water easily accessible for every farmer. At least for the
market in the Philippines, rice farmers would not pay for a sensor which could
safe irrigation water costs if water is already close to zero. When using
irrigation pumps in addition to water from irrigation systems, farmers have to
pay for fuel costs. If the sensor were to save irrigation water needed, this
can lead to minimizing pumping water. As stated in the questionnaires farmers
spend about 100 dollars on fuel depending on their plot size and water needed.
As stated in other researches, the usage of AWD could safe 30% and thus $$$ per
household per season.

5.2.2 Farmers

What do farmers want to pay, what output do they
expect, can they understand the system etc

To understand what farmers think about the implementation of
the sensor on their fields, a survey was done to get an impression of what
stakeholders think. The primary goal of these interviews was stakeholder
mapping, get an understanding of irrigation systems and associations that come
along with it and. During these interview sessions, not only rice farmers were
interviewed but also other stakeholders. Contributors were (1)rice farmers, (2)
IA(irrigators’ association) and SWISA(small water impounding systems
association), (3) PhilRice staff, (4) NIA (national irrigation administration).
The contributors answered questions stated in the survey questionnaire added in
annex 1.

Age of stakeholders

Rice farmers ages ranges from 30-70 years old(fig above).
The majority of the farmer participants belong to the 40-45 group(%) followed
by the 56-60 group(%) and 61-65 age group(%). Output of the survey indicated
that the age of rice farmers is relatively high. In context to new water
management decision tools, this may be an advantage due to the experience they
have in farming and irrigation management. The participants have a lot of
knowledge that could be used for reflection of technologies. However, a higher
age could also be a disadvantage due to a stakeholders reception to unknown
technologies.

Access to mobile phones

The AWD sensor system explicitly sends data to cell phones.
This is why an estimation is needed of the percentage of stakeholders who have
a cell phone. The stakeholders were also asked if they had access to a phone.
If not, they were asked why and if they were planning to buy a phone in the
future.

 

Perception of water scarcity

Awareness on AWD

Irrigation scheduling

Adoption of AWD with new decision tools

Conclusion

5.2.3 Irrigation association

Irrigation associations view on AWD
automatization, is sensor changing anything for the irrigation scheduling or
not?

 

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