BY RUQAYA AL KINDI –
About 90% of the land area of the Arab world are located in dry areas, which means it has only about 0.7% of the total water resources in the world. This is according to The Agricultural Census Book issued by the Ministry of Agriculture in 2014.
Governments and youth initiatives, around the world, seek to find solutions to solve the problem of water scarcity and improve the quality of crops. This is exactly what “Qutra” (or drop in English) — a student company was founded to achieve.
The company was established by student efforts from the University of Technology and Applied Sciences (Higher College of Technology) in 2018 to participate in the Injaz Oman competition that is held for college students.
The area of arable land, according to the Agricultural Census Book, is estimated at 200 million hectares, which is equivalent to around 14.1% of the total area of the Arab world.
For this reason, Ahmed Al Jabri, CEO of the company, explained: “We created a device that irrigates the plants counting their actual need of water, as studies revealed that almost 85% of the water used in the traditional method of irrigation is wasted.”
“The device provides the ability to control and follow the whole irrigation process with a single click in the “Qutra” application on farmer’s mobile phone”, he explains
This company could help to solve many problems including water scarcity and ensures the reduction of water consumption, especially at the countries with hot and dry climates.
There are several modern irrigation devices present in the Arab world and most of them depend on the watering timer devices, but the “Qutra” product has a high competitive advantage, confirmed by Al Jabri, as the product is sustainable and works under direct natural conditions and uses solar energy as well.
“It also works automatically without human intervention, and improves the quality of crops as it keeps pace with technological development and the fourth industrial revolution,” he added.
Other competitive advantages that make “Qurta” product distinctive from other competitors in the market, is the little amount of water consumed in the irrigation of plants.
“Instead of depending on the watering timer, in this device, we used a humidity sensor as an alternative, to determine the irrigation time according to the plant’s needs by measuring the accurate soil moisture. this is suitable for all type of trees and all types of soil, “ he assured.
He mentioned that the application is providing the consumer with accurate information about the amount of water consumed in irrigation of plants.
The product can measure the salinity of the soil. In case the salinity of the soil is not suitable, the device automatically will reduce the salinity by adding some chemical treatment to the soil. The product also has a sensor which tracks and kills the harmful insects.” he shared.
This product can be a reliable option for farmers, “as the effectiveness of the device has been approved by the Ministry of Agriculture. it has been tested for 8 months and the necessary improvements have been amended”, he explained. the Engineering Village Company has also carried out some tests on the device.
“Qutra” product, was awarded in 2020 among the top 10 innovations around the world in the global competition Shell LiveWIRE Top Ten Innovators award.
“It is expected that it will be available in the market in its final form in mid-August of 2021, and this will be announced in our account on Instagram (qutra.om) or our twitter account (@qutra5). The cost of purchasing the device and downloading the application is approximately 144 OMR,” he noted.
In the future, “We are planning to establish a reputable company, expanding the Qutra project and listing it as one of the distinct options in the local, regional and global market due to the different specifications and capabilities of this project. We also aim at working on modern and technical products that serve the environment field, and then expand in various fields,” he said.