Now he can stand in front of his greenhouse and open a mobile app to check on humidity, soil pH, nutrition indexes of his garden, and if everything is in a good state, he just needs to press “pump” button to activate irrigation system. Indexes regarding the growth of plants are constantly updated to his smartphone and his job is to base on them to adjust the right type and amount of fertilizers contained in irrigation water. The irrigation duration and capacity, on the contrary, are totally up to his setting. Back in the days, before technology was applied to production, irrigation capacity was solely determined by experience so it was not accurate. Especially, in the case of strawberries growed in soiless medium, if the medium is overwatered, it will cause waterlogging and root damage. However, the problem is now solved thanks to this smart sensor-based irrigation system as sensors are buried deeply in the medium in order to bring in precise results.
Phi monitors and takes care of his strawberry garden via a mobile application. Photo by Trung Kien.
The automatic precision irrigation system comprises of a main control center, a pump, pipes, electric valves, a smartphone, etc. This system also has micro-climate monitoring devices for greenhouse and weather monitoring device with high precision. Everything is based on a platform called internet of thing. Therefore, as long as his smartphone is connected to wifi or a 3G network, Phi can be anywhere, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City or even a foreign country, and still can monitor and take care of his garden in Da Lat. Furthermore, the system is also very helpful in growing various types of plants. For instance, at the greenhouse, he grows tomatoes and strawberries, however, if he needs to grow pepinos, he still can produce all of them at ease.
To make his work much more convinient, Vuong Dinh Phi bought himself an iPhone 7 Plus. He said that at that point in time if farmers didn’t have smartphones to help them in production, then it would be such a waste.
In the past, he had installed an automatic irrigation system though, he still had to go to every section to open and shutoff valves himself since there were plenty types of plants, various sowing time and also empty lots. But now things have changed as Phi can do everything through his smartphone. The new irrigation system helps him save not only time, but also money as indexes of water and fertilizers are updated accurately, thus productivity is improved. On a large scale of 3,000 square meters, the system is believed to deliver more economic efficiencies.
Although he is currently 59 years old, Phi is not affraid of being the pioneer in applying technology to production. Back in the 90s, Phi, a farmer, was the first one in the area to buy a computer. Additionally, due to his passion with technology, at the beginning of 2017, after much research and with the support of the Provincial Agricultural Extension Center, he decided to invest in an automatic precision irrigation system for his 3,000 square-meter greenhouse.
Besides the automatic irrigation system, he also set up 16 cameras to monitor irrigation process and particularly to detect plant diseases timely.