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New device to make soil testing easy, accessible to farmers

Hasan Arif
15 Jan 2022 00:00:00 | Update: 15 Jan 2022 09:04:41
New device to make soil testing easy, accessible to farmers
The device called Matir Pran will measure humidity, PH, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the soil– Courtesy Photo

The Digital Portable Soil Testing Device is set to provide an easy soil testing solution, making it comfortable and accessible to farmers.

The device will measure humidity, PH, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the soil, and the results will be provided through a mobile app that will instantly inform the current condition of soil after calculation.

Besides, it will also suggest measurements and types of fertilisers and other elements such as PH, nitrogen, and phosphorus for the soil.

The ICT Division provided funding for implementing the project to launch the device named “Matir Pran” (life of soil) which is currently at the pilot stage and expected to go into production in the incumbent year.

Currently, for soil testing, farmers have to rely on 20 to 25 soil resource development institutes across the country, which consumes a significant amount of time and money. Despite expenses, the result of soil testing now takes around 25 to 30 days to come, triggering distress for farmers.

The device was invented by three former students of Dhaka Polytechnic Institute – Abdullah Al Araf, Rahat Uddin, and Rezaul Khan.

Former director of the Department of Agricultural Extension Mosharaf Hossain told The Business Post this kind of invention takes the country ahead, but the key matter is to sustain it till the end as many inventions fail to sustain at the end.

Besides, the Matir Pran application provides several benefits for farmers, including their health related issues. Many farmers face different accidents in the fields and do not understand the primary treatment. The app will also inform them about the primary treatment and get instructions over the use of pesticides following health protocols.

Besides, farmers will be able to contact local agricultural officers using the app while the latter will also get updated information regarding overall farming in the area.

The inventors of the device displayed the project at an international conference after being invited by the education ministry of Thailand and grabbed the second position in the “BASIS National ICT Award” among seven countries.

The inventors applied for government grants for the project in 2019 while the ICT Division provided Tk 6 lakh.

Dr Khandakar Abdullah Al Mamun, professor of United International University (UIU) who is also working on the project as a mentor of the students, said Matir Pran is a quality project and a special feature of this app will be to take measures so that farmers can sell their goods directly in Dhaka.

The inventors said at the first stage, they did the research with personal expenses, but this kind of research requires a good quality laboratory and many instruments were needed to be imported. So, Institute of Diploma Engineers, Bangladesh (IDEB) President SKM Hamid established an internet of things and robotics laboratory for their research at the IDEB.

Abdullah Al Araf said the production cost of the device was Tk 8,000 which had already secured a registration from the Bangladesh copyright office. He said they had applied for a patent approval from the industries ministry.

At the final stage, the presentation will be done at the ICT Division. They will also apply for approval from the agriculture ministry.

They urged the government to spread the technology among farmers across the country and requested private companies to invest in the project.