How IoT in food production can save lives

September 28, 2021

blog post (1) If you think avoiding take-out food and sticking to a simple home cooked platter would ensure good health, think again.

Unchecked use of Chemical fertilizers and pesticides in food items and fruits is causing irreparable damage to one’s health. The danger is especially high for younger children, who consume a higher ratio of fruits as part of their diet when compared to the rest of us.

The type and level of pesticides used, has an adverse effect on the farming community. In a comprehensive study, scientists estimated that about 385 million people, particularly among farmers and agriculture workers, are poisoned by pesticides every year, including 11,000 deaths per year. Among those fatalities, nearly 60% of them, to be precise, 6,600 deaths per year occur in India alone.

The need for monitoring and maintaining pesticide levels way below the hazardous mark has never been more imperative. Technology can act as a great enabler in making fruits and food products safe for farming, as well as consuming. It can do so by:

  • Making spraying pesticides safer
  • Monitoring the level of pesticides being injected into crop / fruit
  • Monitoring the level of pesticides releases in water / soil, which is harmful to the earth.

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Making spraying pesticides safer

A lot of drone based pesticide sprayers are getting into the market, and its usage is growing. The recent liberalized drone policy by the Government of India also helps advance this cause. This will protect the farmers from getting exposed to harmful pesticides, apart from boosting productivity of their crops.

Monitoring levels of pesticides being injected into crop/fruit

IoT based enzyme sensors have also been developed for detecting pesticides. These sensors, when coupled with Deep Learning predictions on the amount of pesticides required (or not required!) not only enhance the productivity of crops, but also prevent excess pesticides from reaching the end consumer.

Monitoring levels of pesticides release in water/soil

Traditionally, soil / water samples need to be collected and tested (if at all!) to know the amount of pesticides being released into the Earth. By placing IoT based sensors strategically, one can now monitor the contamination level (of soil or water) at a large scale. Visual Dashboards and alerts can be built up at Zilla parishad or District levels and can be centrally monitored.

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