A group of trailblazing students in Cambodia has accomplished an impressive achievement in agricultural technology.

Through meticulous research and development, they’ve designed a smart device that can facilitate automatic irrigation, earning them significant recognition and a gold medal in a contest that brought together over 100 groups of students, including some from foreign nations.

This technological triumph promises an agricultural revolution, embracing the era of smart farming.

The product of their innovation is not gathering dust in a laboratory or displayed solely as a prototype for academic grading. Instead, it’s being put to practical use, helping a local farmer irrigate his vegetable farm.

Spanning 25 acres, this farm has turned into a testing ground, demonstrating the real-world benefits of this smart irrigation system.

The transformation brought about by this innovation has resulted in the farmer saving money, reducing labour requirements, and making the irrigation process more efficient.

Koy Borin, a 50-year-old farmer from Ou Rumchek village, tucked away in Kandal province’s Sa’ang district, is the pioneering user of this smart irrigation solution, which the student team has christened “CAM-Smart Irrigation”.

Over the last three months, Borin has been using this smart irrigation system, provided to him free of charge, to cultivate a variety of vegetables on his plot of land.

In the pre-digital era, Borin spent laborious hours tending to his land. He pumped water from wells, manually pulling water pipes across the farm to irrigate his crops.

He also constantly monitored water levels to ensure that his plants wouldn’t wither and die due to inadequate hydration. This process, though indispensable, was time-consuming and physically demanding.

“In the past, I relied heavily on manual labour, which consumed a significant portion of my day. I was watering crops without the ability to gauge whether the water in the farm was too much or too little. The introduction of the smart device has since enlightened me on this,” Borin expressed.

The CAM-Smart Irrigation system is more than just a smart device, according to Borin. It has radically improved his traditional farming methods, saving time and water, and reducing the need for manual labour.

The device is designed to detect soil moisture levels and provides immediate updates to Borin’s phone if his crops aren’t getting the required water.

He can control the irrigation system remotely using his phone, allowing him to initiate the pump for precise watering.

Once the soil reaches the desired moisture level, the device sends an alert.

Students test their smart device in the field. PHOTO SUPPLIED

“I utilise this device that can measure both high and low humidity levels in the soil. It provides alerts on my mobile phone, which means I can remain informed even when I am far from the field or in different provinces,” he said.

“The ability to monitor and control irrigation through my mobile phone has significantly alleviated much of the worries I used to have,” Borin added.

For Borin, the group of students, including the founder, Neak Sokkim, and her team members, are more than just inventors; they are problem solvers who provided him with this smart technology at no cost.

He expressed his heartfelt thanks to the team and praised the new technology, admitting he had never experienced such advanced solutions in farming before.

Moreover, he is actively promoting the adoption of this device among other farmers in his area.

Regarding the use of the smart irrigation equipment, Sokkim, a 20-year-old third-year student of information technology engineering at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, spoke with enthusiasm about the CAM-Smart Irrigation device.

Born in Ta Pav Bampenh Tes village, Roka Po Pram commune, Tboung Khmum district, Tboung Khmum province, Sokkim and her team of 11 students, both male and female, developed this innovative solution to aid farmers in meeting their crop irrigation needs.

The CAM-Smart Irrigation device, she explained, automates the process of turning the water on and off, improving the efficiency of crop irrigation.

It enhances the user’s control over the irrigation process by scheduling irrigation timings and measuring the soil moisture levels on the farm.

Before the team installs the device, Sokkim explained, a team of technicians assesses the water source, installs the necessary electricity and water pipes, and then sets up the mobile application for remote control.

The team of students developed this tool in response to the numerous challenges that farmers, including their parents, face in their agricultural work.

Sokkim shared that her team started developing the smart device in 2021. Through perseverance, they were successful in their endeavour.

In the same year, they clinched the top spot in the annual Bandos Digital Startup competition.

In 2022, they triumphed as winners of the SAAMBAT Digital Agriculture Accelerator Programme.

This year, they came in first in the Business Model Competition Cambodia 2023.

Most recently, the team of students were awarded a gold medal in a competition organised by the National University of Management (NUM) and Business Model CAMBODIA, supported by various private institutions.