Smart agriculture thanks to chip-based platform

After years researching ways to automate agricultural activities, 36-year-old Nguyen Duc Huy from Da Lat City was able to simplify those labor-intensive tasks via the aid of digital platforms.
Nguyen Duc Huy and his new farming model

Nguyen Duc Huy and his new farming model

Different from other vegetable farms with people going around manually watering their crops, the hydroponic vegetable farm of Nguyen Duc Huy has an automatic watering system installed. This is the work developed by Huy, who has a master’s degree in Plant Biology from University of Science (Vietnam National University – Ho Chi Minh City).

When starting up an agricultural business, Huy and his friend applied advanced technologies on his 2ha hydroponic field to grow tomato, lettuce, cucumber. All plants on this field are monitored via chips that send data to self-developed Vietponics Control System on his computer. The system can be installed on smart devices to help farmers deliver farming orders like watering and fertilizer spraying remotely.

In addition, data are accumulated each day, and programed algorithms are used to precisely notify farmers of which plants need humidity adjustment, fertilizer adding, watering. This will greatly boost the yield of the crop by even 5 times compared to traditional farming methods.

Seeing that Vietnam has advantageous conditions for farming activities (low logistics cost, good supporting industry, long-term agriculture development), in 2019, Huy researched a novel plastic frame that can be adjusted into different shapes to meet all forms of hydroponic farming.

Based on the existing farming management application that possesses a large database optimized for each plant type, Huy continued to study more into the nutrient film technique, where dissolved nutrients are recirculated continuously past the bare roots in a very shallow stream of water. The advantage of this technique is that plant roots are not deeply soaked in water, and thus eliminating rotting.

Another of Huy’s research is an automatic circular watering system. Current systems on the market discard surplus water, which is quite a waste as an area of 1,000m2 needs 10-20m3 water. Huy’s system allows wastewater recycling, reducing the necessary volume to 500 littre per 1,000m2. This is a great cost and water saver.

“Using my frame and Control system, along with the circular watering system, farmers save much time caring for plants, while still being able to monitor the temperature, fertilizer use, pH level in order to adjust when needed. The overall system is user-friendly and simple enough for any farmer to implement. This is called smart agriculture”, said Huy.

He added that his model is suitable for different spaces, ranging from balconies or rooftops to large-scale farms.

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