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Technology as an enabler for sustainable agriculture

  • By Christiane Lemma
  • May 6, 2021

When you think of the amount of effort and money put into outer space exploration, you might question the actual benefit to those of us on the ground. Some of the most compelling use cases are enjoyed by those earthbound, not just researchers and scientists, but also those in industrial enterprise and agriculture.

In a bid to boost productivity and optimize costs, farmers increasingly turn to outer space exploration technology. This is an accurate indication that the ongoing green revolution will be hinged on technology as an enabler for sustainable agriculture.

True to this need is Lentera Africa, an organization taking advantage of technology to enable farmers to gain real-time knowledge of the health of their farm and plan for future crops and herds. The Agri-tech company offers precision agriculture services, including farm software, weather sensors, drone and satellite imaging, and automated advisory services on market conditions. 

“We collect satellite data of a farm every five days to monitor progress. We also install ground weather stations for selected farms. Our algorithm highlights problems with the growth in crops and provides insights on areas that need chemical soil analysis,” says Moses Kimani. He is the founder and CEO of the company.

Founded in 2017, the company uses satellite and drone data to monitor crop health and estimate yield for various crops. Its farm mapping platform uses a drone to provide farmers with a baseline of their crops’ health, pointing out areas of concern such as irrigation and nutrition problems. It also includes pest and disease scouting data.

“Farmers who use our solution have access to hyper-localized weather updates. Satellite images of their farms can highlight areas of concern. Farmers can use this information to optimize fertilizer and water application,” says Kimani.

Agriculture drone fly to spray fertilizer on the green tea fields, Image source: Smart farm

Lentera Africa also provides soil health advisory and inputs based on the information provided by the crop health maps. “We provide farmers with advice and supply them with organic inputs that rectify problems with soil acidity as well as poor nutrition levels,” Kimani adds.

The company CEO says that their technology is simple and easy to use by all farmers. Farmers receive alerts via SMS and mobile app with practical insights such as when to plant, when to irrigate and when to scout for pests and diseases. This enables farmers to adapt to changing climatic conditions and increase their chances for success.

Kenya Climate Ventures (KCV), an independent financial organization, is pleased to work with Lentera Africa to promote technology adoption in the agriculture industry. KCV is offering financial and technical support to see the expansion of the enterprise. This will surely boost the country’s food basket. 

“I am particularly delighted that the kind of technology we are deploying at Lentera brings innovation and excitement back to the African farmer and puts food security at the forefront of the digital economy in Africa,” Kimani concludes.