Innovate UK, an innovation agency in the UK, has awarded the sum of $856,000 to three agritech startups in Kenya. Illuminum Greenhouses, Juhudi Kilimo and WeFarm, received the funds to develop SmartGFA, Africa’s first solar-powered greenhouse management system.
The startups will utilize knowledge in advanced sensors, Artificial Intelligence, and machine learning analytics to develop SmartGFA – a low-cost greenhouse microclimate monitoring and management system. The startups will use soil sensors, and climate information to optimize the irrigation and environmental conditioning of crops.
SmartGFA will be used to analyze the information provided by soil-sensors, weather data, and climate information based on historical weather patterns in real-time. It will use this information to ascertain specific crop needs, maximize crop health, and yield. It will also minimize fertilization and water consumption by crops.
With SmartGFA, smallholder farmers in Kenya will be able to achieve high-yield greenhouse farming at a lower cost, increase food security, and upgrade to cash crop production. Fintechs can also utilize the sensor data provided by the system to prove a farmer’s creditworthiness.
Innovate UK supports businesses to develop innovative solutions around the world. It provided this agritech fund alongside UK-based Innvotek and Brunel University of London. The agritech startups will be working with experts from the UK on the SmartGFA project.