Grain capturing techniques for FRA based on near field communication and geographic information system

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Mwansa, Natasha
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The University of Zambia
The management of Zambia’s national strategic food reserve is done by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA), which also ensures that the country’s food market is well facilitated. The FRA also ensures that there is a reliable supply of agricultural commodities to meet local shortfalls during food emergencies caused by floods, drought or any other natural disasters. A satellite depot is a marketing center established by the Food Reserve Agency in outlying or rural areas for the purpose of receiving crops from farmers. In this study we are proposing a model for automatic grain capture at the satellite depot using cloud technologies, quick response (QR) code and near field communication (NFC) technology. The objectives were to (1) determine and map all the business processes at the FRA satellite depot, (2) design a model for real time data capturing based on the business process established in the first objective using NFC, barcode technology and Geographic information system technologies and finally (3) develop a prototype based on model in the second objective. A detailed study of the current business processes at the satellite depot regarding FRA activities in capturing the farmer details, processing and capturing of grain bags was successfully carried out to meet objective number (1). To address objective number (2), we used the business processes in (1) to come up with a model for automatic grain bag capturing. The automation and security features of our model are based on three technologies. These are cloud computing and GIS; QR coding of bags of grain and inventory based on NFC technologies. A mobile application running on android devices and a web-based inventory management system based on the model in (2) have been developed to address objective number (3). The initial results show that we are able to automate the capturing of grain bags based on QR code from the satellite depot and see the results in real time from the FRA head office. The system provided low cost and highly efficient solution for grain capturing at the satellite depot. Keywords—Satellite Depot, NFC, QR CODE, GIS, FRA
Satellite depot--Zambia , ICT--Agriculture--Zambia