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Indonesia: Students develop system to aid women farmers in Yogyakarta

Five UGM students are developing an Integrated Smart Vertical Hydroponic Farming system to assist in increasing the productivity of hydroponic vegetable cultivation for the Women Farmers Group (Kelompok Wanita Tani - KWT) Tuwuh Makmur, located in Padukuhan Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

KWT Tuwuh Makmur had experienced crop failures due to the open exposure of the hydroponic system to direct sunlight and rain, leading to plant damage from tip burn, pest exposure, and poor water circulation quality during rainfall. "These three issues have caused a high level of crop failure in lettuce production. This prompted us to develop Integrated Smart Vertical Hydroponic Farming," explained Patrick.

Patrick mentioned that KWT Tuwuh Makmur had been cultivating vegetables using hydroponics since 2020. With the implementation of hydroponic farming, they hope to optimize land use, leading to increased productivity. The integration of light waves to optimize the photosynthesis process also creates a controlled environment for plants. "This can minimize the risk of crop failure," he added.

The addition of Real-Time Clock (RTC) technology will facilitate KWT mothers in the plant maintenance process, as the grow light and pump will automatically turn on and off. "Previously, the irregular scheduling of people in plant care sometimes led to the pump not being turned on, and the plants were not well-maintained," said Tri Sumiyati, the chairwoman of KWT Tuwuh Makmur.

The tool developed by UGM students has been used in the production area of KWT Tuwuh Makmur located in Pelem Kecut, Padukuhan Santren, since mid-August 2023. Some changes have also been made by the PKM-PI team due to adjustments and tool improvements. Socialization has also been carried out to ensure that the tool is optimally used by the KWT mothers.

Meanwhile, Dian added that with the implementation of the tool, there has been an increase in agricultural productivity. With this Integrated Smart Vertical Hydroponic Farming, the tool's productivity, which was previously only 30 plants per square meter, has increased to 192 plants per square meter.

"This increase is accompanied by a corresponding increase in profits, up to 150% higher than the previous tool," she revealed. She hopes that the use of the hydroponic system can increase the market share of KWT Tuwuh Makmur. The application of this model is also expected to be an innovation and effort in the transition from conventional to modern farming practices.

The development of the integrated vertical hydroponic farming system originated from the concerns of Patrick Rino Parulian Hutahaean (Nuclear Engineering 2022), Anugrah Hasmy Abdillah (Nuclear Engineering 2022), Abdurrahman Raeva Rizaldi (Nuclear Engineering 2022), Thomas Panogari Manik (Nuclear Engineering 2021), and Dian Rahmanisa (Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness 2022), who are part of the PKM-PI team, regarding the issues faced by KWT Tuwuh Makmur.

For more information:
University of Gadjah Mada

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