Automated soil nutrient detection system and fertilizer recommendation for the Tea industry.
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Soil is a major source of nutrients needed by plants for growth. The three main nutrients are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Together they make up the trio known as NPK. Other important nutrients are calcium, magnesium and sulphur. It is therefore important to determine the soil nutrients available in a particular soil, for proper plant growth. Uganda is known to have a favourable climate for tea growing. The Tea plant which was introduced in the country by 1900 had by mid-1950’s Tea become Uganda’s main estate crop. Uganda has only exploited about 10% of its potential for tea growing and has about 21,000 ha of land under tea growing. Uganda produces about 10,000 metric tonnes of tea per annum and about 90% of tea is exported. Our project seeks to automatically determine the amount of soil nutrients present in the soil, and from the thresholds required for the proper growth of tea, recommend the right quantities of soil nutrients to be added. This is to be done after the soil samples have already been tested using the soil test kit. First, we identified the problems face by farmers, particularly those growing tea, and those who have the interest to grow tea. Among them was not being able to identify the right amount of fertilizers to be added to the soil for proper tea growth. We therefor came up with the idea of designing and implementing an automatic soil nutrient sensor that can determine the amount of nutrients available in the soil, and recommend how much is to be added to the soil, for proper tea growth. We tested our findings and results in the laboratory at the College of Agricultural Sciences. We also discussed our recommendations for the future improvement of the soil nutrient testing kit.