NXplorers in the Philippines create an affordable soil testing device for farmers

Students from Philippine Science High School wanted to find a solution to help local farmers tackle the devastating effects of typhoons, floods, and drought on their land.

They formed Team El Terratix whose members all hail from Isabela, the second largest province in the Philippines. Not only is agriculture its main industry, but it is the country's top corn producing province. In fact, it accounts for 21 per cent of the annual yellow corn production.

The farmers are often left to deal with the impact of a loss of soil nutrients. Put simply, poor soil leads to unhealthy plants.

Many farmers don’t understand the importance of soil testing. Even if they do, few have the means to conduct testing of any kind. So, students wanted to find a way of giving farmers immediate access to vital information about the composition and viability of their soil solutions to enrich It.

The team applied the NXplorers tools and methodology to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced and to develop possible solutions. The result? PogSOILbok (Pagsubok in Filipino means to test). It is a portable smart device – powered by solar energy, no less – that gathers soil data and analyses it within just 15 minutes. It also helps farmers optimise crop production.

PogSOILbok will be developed into an app that farmers will be able to access on their mobile phone. In just a few taps, they will be able to get information about a soil sample, an analysis of their soil and recommendations on how to enrich It. Team El Terratix plans to connect farmers directly to agricultural suppliers through the app. The students want to add other features too, including giving farmers direct contact with agricultural experts.

Do you live in an agricultural community with a problem that needs an urgent solution? Pick up a few ideas of what you can be done to help by watching the video above.

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Read our latest NXplorers Impact Report to find out what young people and their teachers had to say about the impact the programme has had.
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