Mobile phone app helps farmers in India monitor pumps

The Christian Science Monitor recently reported on how mobile pump technology in India is saving farmers time and energy. According to the article, a new product from India-based Ossian Agro Automation -- called Nano Ganesh -- allows farmers to turn pumps on and off from any location with their mobile phone.

The article reports:

Santosh Ostwal, cofounder of Nano Ganesh, created mobile-based technology that gives farmers the flexibility to remotely switch water pumps on and off from any distance using cell phones or landlines. Ostwal, an electrical engineer by trade, had a personal connection to the plight of farmers. After observing the hardships his 82-year-old grandfather faced in tending his farm and monitoring the availability of electricity to operate water pumps, he began to construct a remote control that farmers could use within 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) of the farm.

The CS Monitor reports that Ostwal later expanded the range of the remote control to 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), and finally revamped the technology in 2008 to grant the farmers unlimited range -- as long as they had a mobile connection. The technology also allows farmers to check whether there's enough electricity to available to run their pumps -- and verify whether the machinery is on or off.

According to the article:

This is important for two reasons. One is that overwatering can lead to soil erosion and nutrient depletion. The second reason is that the inability to remotely shut off water pumps leads to unintentional water and electricity waste.

The technology is being used by 10,000 farmers in India, as well as by others in Australia and Egypt. The innovation received international recognition from the Global Mobile Awards in 2010 and Nokia’s Calling All Innovators Contest in 2009.

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