Africa 4 Future pitch event was a collaboration between the Airbus BizLab (an incubation division of the jumbo jet manufacturer) and Novato Africa. The panel of judges had representatives from Safaricom, Cellulant and other leading tech companies and entrepreneurs.
The winning team , that was represented by Kipng’etich, was Illuminum Greenhouses Kenya, a company that applies IoT to greenhouses. Their product was called Farm Shield, it uses sensors to read the current greenshouse status by checking the Temperature, Humidity and Soil Moisture to determine when to irrigate the farm without wasting water. It applies SMS technology to relay the information to the farmer.
This technology requires a farm or greenhouse to have an irrigation network in place such as drip lines. When the sensors detect that the soil moisture level is below the required amount, they automatically send an electric signal to the irrigation lines to open up. An SMS is sent to the farmer informing them that irrigation has been initiated. After the soil moisture is back to the desired level, another SMS is sent to confirm the end of the process.
The sensors are charged via solar power hence applicable even in remote areas where electricity hasn’t penetrated. All the information collected by the sensors is stored online for up to one year and is analysed with graphs that help a farmer better prepare for the following year’s season.
The judges praised the technology for addressing the problem of farmers depending on rain fed agriculture and water conservation. They awarded Kipng’etich victory for using future based technology of IoT to solve the age old problem facing farmers everywhere.