After more than a year of serious research on the market of South Africa, ONDO is now at the heart of a project for the set-up of a modern demo agri-innovation centre, featuring the first installations of ONDO automation solutions in the country.
ONDO's solutions for the automation of irrigation, fertigation and climate control are at the basis of a project which is already developing in Camperdown, KwaZulu-Natal. The locality of the project is of particular significance - Camperdown is situated between Durban and Peitermaritzburg along the N3 Freeway. The area has received a lot of local attention and is seeing massive development in industrial, logistical and agriculture sectors, with new road infrastructure, warehouses, farm plots and now also the first installation of the ONDO Smart Farming Solutions technology.
A major investor in the project is the Innovative Farming Advancements organisation, owned by Maleshen Konar Pillay "МК", led by his vision to revolutionise the agriculture sector towards a better, more sustainable model, through which funding for the hardware and farm has been obtained. ONDO's representative for South Africa, Timset Consult (Pty) Ltd, will coordinate the installation and configuration of ONDO's solutions in this centre, as well as will support all setup activities until the project completion.
The agri-innovation centre spans a huge area of 20 hectares, and is meant to take the shape of a fully functional demo farm. Advanced agri-tech equipment by ONDO will be used to remotely manage and control, in a fully automated manner, the processes of irrigation, precise fertigation and climate control in the farm.
The demo centre will grow a variety of vegetable crops, both in open fields and inside 20 tunnel greenhouses. It will also grow an orchard, will have a park and its own dam for irrigation purposes.
The agriculture process automation, accomplished using ONDO's solutions, will also include the integration of a monitoring system with multiple soil moisture sensors, as well as a weather station with local weather forecast and sensor data for the local environment parameters.
The goal of the innovation centre is to demonstrate, via a real farm, the benefits from using advanced agri-tech solutions - in terms of increased and higher-quality crop yield, considerably reduced water consumed, reduced import of fertilisers and pesticides.
The investors in this project are planning to hold regular training seminars on-site, teaching the local farmers about the benefits of using digital technologies in the agricultural sector. Another key goal is to establish the innovation centre as a permanent university innovation hub, where students studying agricultural disciplines can learn more about farming automation with ONDO. They would also be able to see for themselves the benefits from using the system, by using it in practice and generating automated reports reflecting the reduced consumption of water and fertiliser, or making reports on the yield increase, human resource involvement, etc.
"A system like ONDO that automates some of the key farming processes can be very efficient in a country like South Africa, which feeds a big part of the continent and also exports agricultural produce for over 3 billion USD. Despite the fact that some regions of the country have a very well developed agricultural sector, in the majority of those there is absolutely no technological solution used. For us it is essential to create a successful model for partnership between the business and the educational institutions, and thus also convince the local authorities to support our effort to digitally transform the agricultural sector, which would open completely new perspectives for the agricultural development of the continent." - said Anton Samsonov, CEO of Timset Consult (Pty) Ltd.
The first crops to be grown in the demonstrational centre will be tomatoes and peppers. The future crop selection process will be entrusted to another partner in this project - Frandev Nutraceuticals (Pty) Ltd with its CEO Francis Schode - a renowned scientist, specialised in the creation of nutritional food for the African market.
ONDO (ondo.io) offers an innovative, digitally-controlled agriculture system for automated drip irrigation management and control, precise plant nutrition and climate control for various crops. ONDO can be used in greenhouses, orchards, vineyards or in the open fields, saving up to 85% of water, up to 50% of energy and up to 60% of losses caused by human error.