The SoilWat is a patent-pending GPS and internet-enabled device with sensors that are installed in farms to monitor the levels of macronutrients (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium), weather, soil PH and moisture content which directs water, lime and fertilizer nutrient application rates based on the local requirements.
Soil fertility monitoring for informed farming for smallholder farmers in Africa.
What problem are you trying to solve?
It is estimated that over 400,000,000 smallholder African farmers rely on traditional knowledge to inform their farming decisions. As a result, most of them often end up making uninformed decisions on the breeds of crops to grow, the fertilizers to use and general crop husbandry practices, resulting in declining productivity on their farms. These challenges continue to cripple the agricultural value chains which in turn result into low productivity (Farms are producing at only 30% their full potential) and limited cost efficiencies thus hindering development especially in countries whose economies are agro-fed. Farmers have lost an average of 40 kilograms of macronutrient per hectare every year- the yearly equivalent of US$5 billions’ worth of fertilizer.
The target customers for UjuziKilimo are small to medium scale farmers who have problems increasing their crop yields. The majority of the target users live in rural areas and have access to mobile phone technology.
What is your solution to this problem?
UjuziKilimo has developed a patent-pending sensor-based kit to analyze soil quality. The device has probes which are inserted into the soil and sensors automatically detect the presence of the soil sample. The device connects to a network then begins reading data on Soil pH, Nitrates Content, Phosphates, Potassium, i.e. (NPK), soil Electrical Conductivity (EC), soil Moisture and GPS coordinates (pointing the location of the farm). Once read, the values are instantly sent to the database. The databases through an algorithm analyze and match the reading with the optimum conditions and send appropriate recommendations on suitable seeds, soil treatment methods, water level required, fertilization for optimum crop production. This enables farmers to collect more data from their field to make more precise decisions allowing them to increase yields while applying fewer resources, such as water and fertilizer. We utilize data science and machine learning to provide actionable agronomic insights to farm.
What is your latest update on your innovation?
Addition of satellite imagery and remote sensing to our solution provides better recommendations for farmers. Through Satellite imagery, we provide insights for farmers on managing the fields and reducing crop inputs: mitigating risks with localized zone management, lowering the costs to treat insects, disease and weeds by eliminating them when they start. Remote sensing identifies localized nutrient deficiencies and enables crop inputs by zone management. This has enabled us to provide a more comprehensive solution to farmers that targets all major areas of field production. The update has strengthened scouting of farms, information sharing and surveillance among smallholder farmers in national and regional levels and hence a rapid response to the emerging pest and diseases i.e. the fall armyworm. Our query service also enables farmers to share information via SMS, for free without having the internet. Farmers can ask questions and also report on the status of their farms.