A mobile application for recommended fertiliser application rates of selected crops in Central Uganda
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In order for farmers to realize acceptable yields and returns to their scarce resources under these poor soil conditions, they require to use improved soil fertility management practices that they always find unaffordable. Uganda is known as an agricultural country, where most agricultural practice recommendations are given by traditional methods. At present, fertiliser application rates recommendations for farmers are based on one to one communication between the farmers and the experts and these experts have different recommendation rates. The main objective of this project was to develop a mobile application that analyses soil nutrient’s results and provides recommended fertiliser application rates information to farmers after carrying out soil nutrient tests. The project objective was achieved through the use qualitative methodology for requirement gathering and the System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) for the development of the application through the guidance of the waterfall model. The field results analyzed showed that 80% of the farmers interviewed had been trained on the use soil testing kit (STK) to analyze soil nutrients that helped in requirements identification. They identified color interpretation, no access to the soil testing kits and lack of enough training as some of the reasons as to why they do not carry out soil tests by themselves. From the results analyzed farmers still indicated that they were faced with the following challenges while carrying out soil nutrient analysis; run out soil of reagents, it’s a long process, identification of color while others indicated that they had no idea since they had never attained any training. From the analyzed results, 80% of the farmers attained their fertiliser recommendations from extension staff. In addition to that, the commonly tested for soil nutrients were Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), Potassium (K), Alkalinity (PH) and Organic matter. This guided and resulted into the development of the mobile application that interprets, analyzes and provides recommended fertiliser application rates to farmers after carrying out soil analysis. This mobile application would subsequently aid in improving turnaround time for delivery and attaining of recommended fertiliser application rates by farmers. This smart environmental choice allows growers to save money and increase yields, by using the right rate and type of fertilizers. The solution also addresses the global misuse of fertilizers that results in waste, soil damage, and groundwater contamination. It also enhances fertiliser management through provision of timely information concerning correct timing, placement and methods of fertiliser application and right source of fertiliser in order to maximize nutrient uptake and yield targets. The mobile application focused on the use of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) as a tool through which recommended fertiliser application rates can be disseminated to farmers timely and in a cost saving way. This application can be used on farmer’s android-based mobile devices. Inorganic fertiliser use has a significant potential production increase in the agricultural sector that in return leads to increased income to the small-scale farmers although farmers are still faced with a challenge of interpreting soil test results and attaining timely onsite recommended fertiliser application rates in order to rejuvenate the soil fertility. It is highly recommended to use the fertiliser application rates mobile application in order to improve on fertiliser application decision making.