KENYA – Twiga Foods, a Kenyan tech-enabled food distribution platform has partnered with leading pan-African telecoms group, Liquid Telecom to increase agricultural productivity through precision farming by use of Internet of Things (IoT) network.
According to Liquid Telecom, its expansive and resilient network has enabled the deployment of innovative IoT solutions in Twiga’s Takuwa farm, with an eye on the long-term objective of making food security a reality in Africa.
Commenting on the partnership Adil Youssefi, Liquid Telecom CEO East Africa said, “I am excited about this partnership because, at Liquid Telecom, we strive to be at the forefront of technological innovation that continues to bring positive transformation in many sectors of the society, including Agriculture.”
“Having now deployed our intelligent farming expertise on the Twiga Foods Takuwa Farms through the use of our IoT sensors will increase productivity and efficiency, ultimately contributing to the national Big 4 Agenda.”
The system includes four different types of agriculture sensors: a comprehensive weather station, soil moisture and temperature probes, borehole water meters, and sensors for measuring irrigation water acidity and salinity, which provide critical information to the Twiga agronomy team.
The smart weather station provides real time data that helps farm managers deploy the most effective farming methods for irrigation and application of pesticides.
Furthermore, the water quality sensors provide specific metrics that help the team to optimize their fertilizer application. Additional data gathered and monitored on a real time basis include temperature, humidity, rainfall and wind speed.
The soil probes installed at Twiga’s Takuwa farm measures moisture levels and temperature at 6 different depths into the soil, giving precise information of soil quality and irrigation needs at the roots of specific crops. This is set to directly increase yield and productivity and will benefit Twiga’s food security efforts during and beyond COVID-19.
The system takes advantage of Liquid Telecom’s extensive low-power wide area IoT network using 0G Sigfox technology covering 85% of the population in Kenya at lower costs than other technologies.
Peter Njonjo, CEO, Twiga Foods stated, “Increasing business efficiency through digital solutions is one of the main reasons we partnered with Liquid Telecom. By using smart devices, we have automated multiple processes across the farm’s production cycle.”
“I would encourage other farms to also deploy IoT solutions to aid in food security for our country,” he stated.
“Climate change and global warming has brought about unpredictability in terms of weather patterns. Adopting smart agriculture solutions that use IoT will enable farmers gain better information for managing their input costs and increasing their crop yield, thereby encouraging food security in the country,” added Adil Youssefi.
In 2019 Liquid Telecom upgraded the fibre network route from Nairobi to Mombasa offering speeds of up to 9.4 Terabits per second and an implemented capacity of 1.2Tbps for wholesale and enterprise customers.
The increased capacity and on-demand bandwidth will support the company’s IoT network and a range of IoT applications in industries such as logistics and asset tracking, water and electricity utilities, manufacturing and agriculture.
This partnership comes months after Twiga Foods collaborated with plastic and packaging solutions provider, Silafrica to create and assimilate the use of smart crate systems into their operations.
This new tech solution gives the farmers a way of tracking their produce until it reaches the market as the crates are fitted with Near-Field Communication (NFC) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) which relay real-time data as the crates move from one point to the other.
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