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Agricultural Innovation through Technology
Program Details & Highlights
OneVillage is a social enterprise that promotes organic farming. Organic farming uses less energy, produces fewer greenhouse gases, and contributes to healthier soil; however, moving to organic farming comes with a steep learning curve for the farmers. Globally, there is less funding for organic research compared to traditional farming. However, organic farmers have fewer strategies to improve crop varieties and battling weed, disease, and insects. Without the chemical pesticides and fertilizers of traditional farming, organic farming is labor intensive.
During July and August, the rice planthopper is a considerable threat to the rice plants and as a result to the farmers’ livelihood. Rice plant hoppers feed on the rice plants and if left unchecked, plant hoppers will turn brown (burn) and die. When detected, farmers must go into the fields to get rid of the rice plant hoppers, however, these insects are hard to detect. Thus, the farmers have two options: to regularly survey the plants for the rice plant hopper or to wait until signs of hopper burn is present.
A Keru team will assist OneVillage by using technology devices to monitor several important factors for the rice plant: 1) light, 2) water quality and 3) pest insects and students also need to interview the local famers. At the end of the program, students will innovate and engineer a technology-based solution to increase/maintain organic farming yields
OneVillage is a social enterprise founded by Donglan Zhang, originally from Nanyong Village in rural Guangdong. OneVillage began as a collaboration between Ms. Zhang and several village residents to raise money for the construction of a concrete road to connect the village to the outside world. Sensing opportunity, they turned their focus to a business endeavor: the sale of specialty agriculture products to urban markets, made possible by the development of infrastructure.
Lawrence obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Maths from Oxford University, where he worked on modelling ecosystems with mathematical tools and published relevant papers in international journals. He was also awarded two prizes for his excellent academic results. Currently, Lawrence is reading for a Master’s degree in Computer Science with focus on Machine Learning / AI at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Lawrence is passionate about making STEM education understandable and accessible to everybody