Improving banana crop production and agricultural sustainability in Colombia using sensor networks

Weather station

Smart farming has become a major trend in the agriculture sector. According to the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO), by 2050 food production may increase by 70% to feed 9.6 billion people.

As Libelium has reported in its Smart Agriculture white paper, food and agricultural companies are increasing investment daily to integrate Internet of Things (IoT) solutions in some of their processes to cut costs, increase the harvest quality and quantity, and ease some farmers’ routine activities. It is essential to guarantee production and competitiveness.

Red Tecnoparque Colombia is a technical innovative programme of SENA Regional Risaralda, the Colombian National Service for Learning, which aims to accelerate the development of I+D+i projects in the countries. To improve productivity, the organisation has deployed a wireless sensor network with Libelium technology to monitor plantain crops in Lembo area, in Santa Rosa de Cabal region.

High accuracy monitoring in crops

Soil node

Plantain crops have special significance for the Colombian economy. It represents 9.69% of the country’s agricultural production value and its annual output is estimated to be around 3 million tons in an area of 380,000 hectares.

According to the Colombian Consolidated Report of Exports published in May 2016, the total amount of banana exports between January and May is estimated to be worth US$433,454,622, or 11.5% more than the previous year. Banana exportation represents 3.7% of total exports in the country. Colombia is one of the largest worldwide exporters along with other South American countries such as Guatemala and Ecuador.

Crop flood, a decrease of oxygen in the soil, high humidity, low temperatures and low luminosity cause reduced plant development and are more affected by plagues and diseases. During the winter campaign, the great increase of diseases makes pesticides vigilance and control something vital for producers. The suitable technological developments enable us to reach this goal.

Improving crop conditions will increase the economic relevance of banana production in Colombia. For this reason, Red Tecnoparque Colombia has selected Libelium Waspmote Plug & Sense! Sensor Platform to develop a smart farming project with remote sensors. Plantain crops have been monitored with different sensors added to Waspmote Plug & Sense!

Colombia map

Waspmote Plug & Sense! Smart Agriculture:

    • Digital Humidity &
    • Soil
    • Trunk diameter
    • Fruit diameter
    • Pluviometer
    • Solar radiation

Waspmote Plug & Sense! Smart Environment:

    • Ammonia (NH3)

Monitoring these parameters, Redcom Tecnoparque is remotely supervising ambient and agronomic variations to investigate new banana varieties. This solution also gives them harvest projections, to optimise water usage, prevent plagues and diseases, reduce fertiliser consumption and also catalogue soils depending on climate and culture.


Waspmote Plug & Sense! Sensors Platforms communicate with a Meshlium Gateway through protocols while data is sent to the cloud via 3G and GPRS. The information is visualised in Libelium’s own cloud-based application. The platform is accessible through any computer and also by a mobile app.

Sustainable farming thanks to IoT

“This project will allow us to obtain knowledge from the crops and also to develop and deploy technology for agriculture sector as a first step for future researches. Our aim is to upgrade and promote innovation and competitiveness to all the processes related to environmental and agriculture sectors,” said Jerry Giovanny Colorado Cano, manager of Online Virtual Technology from Red Tecnoparque Colombia.

Some of the benefits of deploying this project are:

    • Improving environmental and agricultural
    • Promoting sustainable productivity in plantain
    • Organic waste
    • Crops
    • Safety of the product

With the deployment of the Smart Agriculture project, the Colombian organisation has obtained and managed knowledge about precision farming in relation to remote sensing application in crops.

The installation also allows engineers to identify and characterise a good plantain crop area thanks to the wireless sensor network. This project will help to develop future projects in Colombia to improve banana production and to keep the top position in the ranking of export countries.

diagram_case_studie_platanosOver decades, the most important and also exported banana variety worldwide was the Gros Michel, but in the 1950s it was almost annihilated by a fungus known as “Panama disease”. Currently, it attacks crops in Africa, Indonesia, the Philippines and Australia, but it is feared that it might come soon to the American continent. Stopping the plague is really difficult, experts are working to find the genetic diversity through species improvement programmes.

To discover more about the project, watch this video recorded by SENA Regional Risaralda to show the project.

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow_ OR @jcIoTnow


HUAWEI IdeaHub S2 launched for smart office and education

Posted on: August 16, 2022

Beijing, China. 16 August, 2022 – On August 8, 2022, CCTV news joined Huawei at the Intelligent Collaboration 2022 new product launch, which officially released the HUAWEI IdeaHub S2 – the HarmonyOS collaboration flat panel. The IdeaHub S2 is another success to add to Huawei’s portfolio of innovative, creating better value for customers.

Read more

Nordic-powered smart utility access cover offers anti-theft protection and detects open/close events

Posted on: August 16, 2022

Oslo, Norway – China-based Jian-IOT has launched a smart utility access cover that can detect when the cover has been opened or closed, records water level and temperature data, identifies any damage, and includes an anti-theft system that tracks the current location of the device. The ‘Integrated Intelligent Manhole Cover’ employs Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC to both act

Read more

9 IoT applications that will change everything

Posted on: September 1, 2021

Whether you are a future-minded CEO, tech-driven CEO or IT leader, you’ve come across the term IoT before. It’s often used alongside superlatives regarding how it will revolutionize the way you work, play, and live. But is it just another buzzword, or is it the as-promised technological holy grail? The truth is that Internet of

Read more

Which IoT Platform 2021? IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide

Posted on: August 30, 2021

There are several different parts in a complete IoT solution, all of which must work together to get the result needed, write IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide – Which IoT Platform 2021? authors Robin Duke-Woolley, the CEO and Bill Ingle, a senior analyst, at Beecham Research. Figure 1 shows these parts and, although not all

Read more

CAT-M1 vs NB-IoT – examining the real differences

Posted on: June 21, 2021

As industry players look to provide the next generation of IoT connectivity, two different standards have emerged under release 13 of 3GPP – CAT-M1 and NB-IoT.

Read more

IoT and home automation: What does the future hold?

Posted on: June 10, 2020

Once a dream, home automation using iot is slowly but steadily becoming a part of daily lives around the world. In fact, it is believed that the global market for smart home automation will reach $40 billion by 2020.

Read more

5 challenges still facing the Internet of Things

Posted on: June 3, 2020

The Internet of Things (IoT) has quickly become a huge part of how people live, communicate and do business. All around the world, web-enabled devices are turning our world into a more switched-on place to live.

Read more

What is IoT?

Posted on: July 7, 2019

What is IoT Data as a new oil IoT connectivity What is IoT video So what’s IoT? The phrase ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is officially everywhere. It constantly shows up in my Google news feed, the weekend tech supplements are waxing lyrical about it and the volume of marketing emails I receive advertising ‘smart, connected

Read more
IoT Newsletter

Join the IoT Now online community for FREE, to receive: Exclusive offers for entry to all the IoT events that matter, round the world

Free access to a huge selection of the latest IoT analyst reports and industry whitepapers

The latest IoT news, as it breaks, to your inbox