Leap² Swahili-Tech Women Innovation Challenge. Theme: Agriculture.
Ukulima Digitech is a Micro-controller kit that remotely monitors and controls activities in a farm and gives real-time information on moisture level and nutrients deficiency thus reducing post-harvest crop loss.
Kenya’s economy is Agro based, the sector contributing
75% of Jobs in Kenya and up to 30% of GDP. However they are faced with a myriad challenges including climate change, drought, poor agronomic practices, post-harvest loss. According to the Kenya Red Cross, 17 of the 47 counties in Kenya face severe crop loss due to soil nutrient deficiency and water shortage for farming. This puts to risk millions of Kenya’s population with high child mortality associated with malnutrition. The World Food Organization indicates that 1 out of 4 of children eventually drops out of school due to hunger.
Ukulima Digitech realizes that any innovation that enhances crops
harvest, has potential to impact millions of Kenyans families. From their
research, different crops require different soil PH, moisture and nutrient
levels. Any departure from optimum levels leads to decreased crop yield or total failure. But on one hand, most Kenyans rural farmers have no ability to test these important parameters. So year in year out, they grow the same crops, depleting and degrading soil nutrients.
Ukulima Digitech is a small hand held portable micro controller kit that instantly tests soil moisture, pH and nutrient levels and sends real time SMS notification to the farmer but also displays results on the device dashboard.
Farmers will be able to learn what nutrients are deficient from the soils and make informed decision on what fertilizers to apply, how much water is needed for optimum crops growth as well as pH levels.
Over 90% of Kenya’s agriculture is the hands of small scale farmers. This is the target market.
The Kit through moisture sensor can trigger automatic irrigation as soon as it detects low moisture levels in the soil. They believe that the success of this innovation will reduce hunger, increase income levels to household and lead to a healthy nation.
They are now piloting with 20 farmers in Kasigau area inTaita Taveta. Kasigau experiences perennial crop loss, receives food aid from World Food Program and World Vision every year. They want to reach 2000 small hold farmers by end year 2019. Food security is one of the pillars of Kenya’s government Big Four Agenda.