Agriculture plays a significant role in Kenya’s economy accounting for 32.9% of Gross Domestic Product with an estimated 75% of Kenya’s 46 million population involved in some agricultural activity and 75% operating much below average yields with 40% to 50% productivity levels. A study done by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) shows that over 70% of all food is produced by rural small holders farmers embracing knowledge based farming and drifting from traditional farm practices in order to meet the demands of the burgeoning population.
Brian Bosire an Agripreneur founded Ujuzi Kilimo an Agri- Tec enterprise based in Nairobi Kenya with an innovation revolving around using sensors and aid analytics to provide precision farming technologies to small scale farmers to enable them embrace technology driven farming hence be able to increase their yields and reduce risks of the farm. The concept revolves around re-inventing traditional concept of soil testing by providing services on location with a turnaround time in 3.5 minutes opening a line of communication with sending recommendations including crop breed, inputs required, pest control options, nearby markets and send to farmers through their mobile phones inform of an SMS. In the next 3 years the company is set to reach 200,000 farmers in Kenya.
The device uses light, temperature and ion selective sensors to detect and measure sol macronutrients. Sensors produce electrical signals that are conditioned to show exact amount of specific ions/ nutrients present in the soil sample by measuring soil PH, salinity, NPK and moisture.
Ujuzi Kilimo founder saw several gaps in the Kenyan Agricultural market including : lack of knowledge in Agricultural practices, need for new technology, lack of access to market information in terms of prices, buyers and markets, lack of accurate weather information, farmers financial exclusion and supply chain inefficiencies among others.
Ujuzi Kilimo has received business management skills through a workshop organized by NETFUND in September 2016 where focus was on innovation and technology for environmental sustainability. He also received training on developing a business model and testing his kit viability in the Agri-business market. In addition he has also received first investment support grant and in the near future Netfund is planning an investors forum to link him with potential investors for purposes of growing his business idea.