UjuziKilimo

UjuziKilimo

Nairobi, KenyaKenya
Year Founded:
2014
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

UjuziKilimo is innovative sensory technology and database that will provide precise actionable and easy to understand information to farmers to help increase their crop productivity and access markets for their produce.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if farmers could produce enough food to feed the world and solve unger and food insecurity problems?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Poor soil quality leads to decreased crop yields and underutilization of farm lands in Africa. The average output of cereal crops in Africa is 12,650 Hg/Ha vs 73,404 Hg/Ha in United States. Additionally, agriculture supplies can’t keep up with the increasing population demand, creating a food crisis. One in four people are considered malnourished in Africa. Food costs account for 50 to 70 percent of total household expenses

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

UjuziKilimo has developed a sensor-based soil testing kit to analyze soil quality and location of the farm, and send the values instantly to a database. The database through an algorithm analyzes and sends appropriate recommendations- on suitable seeds, soil treatment methods, water level required, fertilization for optimum crop production, additional relevant agricultural information, and connection of farmers with suppliers of the necessary farm inputs and the average pricing of the inputs- to the farmer's phone via short messages. Additional information such as weather updates, market availability, organic farming methods, and disease-monitoring updates among other relevant information is available for a low-cost monthly subscription fee

Awards

ASME Foundation Hardware Innovation Challenge winner, Current Finalist for Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

UjuziKilimo is mainly for smallholder farmers who will pay $20 per crop season for our field agent to conduct 3 soil tests- one before planting and two others during the crop production cycle. The farmer will instantly receive information on quality seeds for his farm, fertilizer required or organic alternatives, water level required and where to get and prices of the farm inputs within his location. After this, the farmer will get regular updates on the weather patterns, diseases, and prices of the produce, available markets and other relevant information. This information will enable a famer increase his crop produce, feed his family, and sell surplus at good prices. He will also have knowledge on modern sustainable farming practices.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We conducted initial field trials with 10 farmers, 5 whom have already reported 30% increase in their crop produce within the last 6 months. We have also conducted a survey in Kisii county in Kenya in which 7 out of 10 farmers expressed interest in the service. We are developing an off the shelf soil testing kit, that any person can purchase and use on their farms and be able to pay for it via mobile payments. By March 2016, we shall have 500 farmers using our service, where we anticipate an average of net increase of 25% yield per acre. By end of 2017, we aim to have 10,000 customers, ensuring that ensuring 3 counties in Kenya have achieved 85% food security.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Long-term impact includes: • Reduced hunger and malnutrition in sub Saharan Africa. • Increased income due to more produce and having information on relevant markets. • Increased awareness on organic farming which will help protect the environment. • Through a common information platform, there will be increased dissemination and sharing of information between various agricultural agencies especially researchers, academic institutions, governments and private sector. • Accurate and intelligent farming data – this will enable access to cheaper financing.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

UjuziKilimo will be financially sustainable through revenue generation. The subscription to receive monthly updates is $0.6 per month. The price per 3 soil tests is $20, or the soil testing kit is also available for sale, priced at $200. UjuziKilimo also plans to profit from the sale of data collected without divulging any customer-specific information. UjuziKilimo will also charge farm input vendors a small fee of $1 for any referral of farmer.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Main competitors are Soil Cares and Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO). These companies currently provide soil analysis studies conducted at a testing facility. The competitive advantage of UjuziKilimo is the simplicity and speed in which soil analysis is performed. UjuziKilimo provides feedback to the user via text messages containing easily understood information in real time. Current competition requires the customer to submit soil samples to their test facilities. UjuziKilimo’s other advantage is in their pay-per-use and information subscription services.
Team

Founding Story

I was inspired to start UjuziKilimo due to my own experience where I tried to do agribusiness, but was constantly being frustrated by lack of information- the government officials were not helpful and the bureaucracy of getting information, or even getting results of the soil analysis meant several months being wasted. I did not even have information on where to market the produce. I made losses in my first attempt on farming on a small piece of land, but with more relevant information as a result of UjuziKilimo, I have now increased by crop productivity by 45% in the last 1 year. I am passionate about creating local solutions to problems my community faces.

Team

Current Management team is: Brian B. – CEO & Lead Hardware designer. He leads the hardware development and oversees overall management of the business. Bsc. Electronic and Computer Engoneering(Graduates 2016). Henry O. – Operations Manager & Lead Software Developer – He leads technical and business operations. He helps in database and messaging technologies. Bsc. Computer Technology (2015). Current advisor are: Evans W. – Senior Project Advisor & Strategist–He helps develop the business development and growth plan, provides links to networking and partnership opportunities, and oversees recruitment or relevant team members and also invests in the business. Over 8 years experience as an entrepreneur. Kisaka M. – Lead Agronomist – He has over 15 years experience teaching and working as extension officer. He provides technical information in interpreting soil analysis reports that is included in the database. In the next 2 years, we shall include: • Sales and Marketing Expert – to lead customer acquisition efforts. • Financial Expert – to lead our accounting team. • Business Development Advisor – to help in our growth strategy.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Through ashoka changemakers website

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Founder

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Responsible Consumption and Production.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

Brian founded Electrosoft Ltd, a company that designs electronics and control systems for various clients in Kenya in 2014. He is also a horticulture farmer. Brian is also a junior senator that has helped him interact with various leaders that are critical in creating partnerships with local governments in implementing UjuziKilimo.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

We are working with Strathmore University Center for Intellectual Property for Intellectual related issues. We shall also reach out to more experienced organization such as SunCulture, One Acre Fund in helping as reach more customers who already exists in their network. We also plan to work with government agencies and development agencies who already have existing data that we can simplify and share with farmers.