Journal article

COMMONSense Net: A Wireless Sensor Network for Resource-Poor Agriculture in the Semiarid Areas of Developing Countries

We describe the on-going design and implementation of a sensor network for agricultural management targeted at resource-poor farmers in India. Our focus on semi-arid regions led us to concentrate on water-related issues. Throughout 2004, we carried out a survey on the information needs of the population living in a cluster of villages in our study area. The results highlighted the potential that environment-related information has for the improvement of farming strategies in the face of highly variable conditions, in particular for risk management strategies (choice of crop varieties, sowing and harvest periods, prevention of pests and diseases, efficient use of irrigation water etc.). This leads us to advocate an original use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). We believe our demand-driven approach for the design of appropriate ICT tools that are targeted at the resource-poor to be relatively new. In order to go beyond a pure technocratic approach, we adopted an iterative, participatory methodology.

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