Dr. Tahmina Ajmal and I travelled to Brazil for the second workshop and arrived yesterday morning in Balneário Camboriú. The goal of this second workshop is to inform local stakeholders how the project is going and use insights from the field visits that we gained in the UK as well as talk about the technology we are using.
The workshop took place at the IFC campus and prof. Joaquim started with a presentation focusing on the challenges and benefits of the project to aquaculture in Santa Catarina and Brazil. Then prof. Silma talked about learning challenges with the farmers: most of the farmers have no further eduction and are unable to attend clases because of the workload on the farm. As such, we need to find ways to bring educxation to those farmers. Whatsapp is the most popular way to communicate in Brazil (also because Whatsapp use is unlimited on most phone plans). As such, we will need to develop learning materials that can be accessed quickly in dead moments, not unlike a game that you play when you are waiting for the bus.
After a short break, Dr Tahmina took over and talked about a water monitoring system near Luton that has been successful. She also showed a handheld monitoring system that included a dedicated dissolved oxygen sensor. During the questions, a researcher from EPAGRI said that they had a similar sensor and would be lending it to the project so we can crosscheck the Seneye data with another sensor. This is a critical point for prof. Joaquim as we need to be absolutely sure that the Seneye system is measuring correctly before deploying it on other farms.
I did the final presentation and talked about the companies we approached to use their technology and how the Seneye system is working. As Alan Miranda, one of the research assistants, had developed the automation switch, he demonstrated it at the end of my presentation.
After a coffee break, we were split in three groups to talk about challenges and solutions. While this was similar to the March workshop, having new information (such as how the monitoring systems worked, knowing more about the farmers) but as well that Dr Tahmina and I had not talked to the farmers before, we gathered new insights. One point of concern was that before we would ask farmers to invest or collaborate, we should be really sure that the equipment was working fine and will continue to be supported after the project ends. I was in a more technical group so we talked mainly about technical issues.
As it was the 24th of September, we had to change the slide in the Seneye after a month. It was pretty easy and the sensor was relatively clean. the mMost of the dirt had only gathered around the floating pipe. A simple wipe was sufficient and we quickly got the device back in the water.
Tomorrow we will be having a training session with Seneye via Skype to learn more about using the dashboard as well as asking questions. In the afternoon we will visit a farm with prof. Joaquim and prof. Silma.