Researchers Develop App to Address Communal Clashes


By Emma Okonji

Nigerian researchers have developed software application solution for cattle rustling, designed to address the frequent deadly clashes between herders and host communities in the country.

According to them, the app was developed in such a way that if embraced and deployed, it might signal the dead end of repeated herders/farmers crises.
Code-named NimTrack, the app, developed by a group of researchers, when put to use, is capable of tracking animal movement.

The app was the product of a research group, The SmartAgro Research Cluster made up of scientists from the Department of Computer Science, Federal University of Agriculture (FUNAAB),Abeokuta, Ogun State, in collaboration with researchers from other Nigerian universities.

The app was presented at a one day sensitisation workshop, which held at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, with the theme: “Intelligent animal tracking and pastural management”, and was declared open by the Vice-Chancellor of FUNAAB, Prof Felix Salako, who was represented by Prof Biodun Badmus of the Department of Physics, FUNAAB.

In a statement, the association, the SmartAgro Research Cluster (SRC), disclosed the mobile app was developed to aid pastural management or animal husbandry.

“Nimtrack was borne out of passsion to aid agriculture with ICT. The journey began six years ago when Prof Isah of the College of Animal Science was engaged in discussion on how the two can collaborate.

“NimTrack is an intelligent animal tracking and management device. It tracks and also enable farmers to set geofence for the animals as they seek for pasture and if anyone of them go out of the range that was set, the farmer receive alert in this respect,” the statement said.

The Principal Investigator of the NimTrack, Dr Oluwasefunmi Arogundade of the Department of Computer Science, FUNAAB, titled her lecture “Development of an Internet of Things based solution for animal tracking: Pastural management made easy.

She took participants who were mainly farmers numbering about 170 through the journey that led to the animal tracking device named NimTrack and how it serves as an improvement to some of the previous approaches in pastural management.

She said she wanted the farmers to experience what they have heard and read about tracking of animals and that is possible through the solution her team is presenting.

“Currently, the solution affords the following benefits: Nimtrack provides the interaction between the farmers and their tracked animals; it keeps up with the received location and provides a timely and visual presentation of the most current locations of their animals; previous locations of the tracked animals can also be viewed by the farmers,” the statement said.

Prof Olubukola Isah, College of Animal Science and Livestock Production, FUNAAB presented the first lecture titled, “The challenges of extensive animal management in developing countries in this 21st century” whete she reiterated the issues with the existing pastural management approaches.

In his presentation, Dr. Abayomi-Alli, of the Department of Computer Science, FUNAAB demonstrated how farmers could track their animals with NimTrack through the mobile application and real-life data on the cloud which was deposited by the tracker on the animals during testing.