Mobile enabled Solar power irrigation in Kenya
Kenya relies largely on expensive food important to feed its population. To become sustainable, the productivity of small-scale farming needs to be improved. Most famers struggle with access to water. Through precision agriculture, Microsoft is supporting SunCulture with an IoT platform and Azure machine learning tools for their solar-based system which allows them to offer farmers personalized recommendations and solutions through their mobile phones. This allows them to be better, more productive farmers.
SunCulture identified access to water as the biggest challenge for most farmers. So, the first product they developed was a solar powered pump combined with micro irrigation. “Our farmers are really our partners”, says Samir Ibrahim, Co-founder & CEO of SunCulture. “And we try to understand what they need first before we build for them”.
SunCulture’s system has soil sensors which collect data that allows them to give farmers the information they need to succeed. Farmers can remotely monitor an issue and remedy it before it becomes a problem.
SunCulture’s cutting-edge solution combines solar and lithium ion energy storage technology. It is easy and affordable to deploy and provides farmers with enough water for up to 2 acres. The 17 hours per week they used to spend moving water manually is now directed to better tending their crops and livestock.
SunCulture is a 2017 Airband Grant Fund winner. Microsoft will continue to support SunCulture as they scale up the program across Africa and the world.