The project aims to strengthen the resilience of the Laikipia county’s farmer and shepherd Maasai communities through the installation of smart greenhouses that will increase and diversify agricultural production. Equipped with a system of sensors that will provide data on temperature, humidity and soil nutrients, as well as data on cultivated products, these greenhouses will optimise yield and reduce the use of water and fertilisers.
5 smart greenhouses
50% water saving
50% fertiliser saving
The sky is blue. A deep blue. Cloudless. Above Laikipia, in northern Kenya, this is how it is most of the time. Rainfall is very low, almost non-existent. The land is dry. Water is an invaluable resource.
The Maasai who inhabit this county often have to deal with a lack of nutritious food. Men take care of livestock farming while women are left to deal with domestic and educational tasks, as well as the marginal activities of agriculture and commerce. Agricultural products are grown on a large scale in specific seasons and domestic production is insufficient to meet the needs of communities. In addition, there are ongoing conflicts among groups to secure access to the scarce water resources for herds.
The Laikipia Permaculture Centre has been operating for several years in this context promoting organic farming and an innovative approach aimed at enhancing local product supply chains (aloe, honey, cactus). The centre supports a dozen local groups in the development of sustainable agriculture, the processing and marketing of products and access to water resources.
In this context, the project plans to install smart greenhouses equipped with sensors that will collect data on the types of crops and soils and match them with weather and climate data. The smart greenhouses will supply real-time information on the fertilisation and irrigation requirements of each crop by communicating data through smartphones. Thanks to this system, the irrigation system can also be activated, the fans can be switched on in case of excessive humidity inside the greenhouse, which can be opened or closed depending on the temperature data; the system also sends alerts about low or high fertiliser levels.
As well as having a strong impact on food safety, this innovative technological solution means that surplus products can be sold, and this in turn guarantees additional revenues to the communities. It also strengthens the ability to tackle both the climate transition and the social empowerment of women.
Realised in cooperation with Ipsia, Laikipia Permaculture Centre, the innovative company Synnefa Green Limited and the business accelerator Sote Hub, the project will reduce the use of water and fertilisers for greenhouse crops. It will also provide data on the best agricultural practices and crops thanks to the following activities:
Smart Greenhouses in Laikipia County in Kenya
Lara Viganò, [email protected]
October 1st 2021/June 30th 2022
Laikipia Permaculture Centre
Synnefa Green Limited
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Help build the irrigation system
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