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Kenya to pioneer high tech farming in Africa

By Sammy Waweru January 13th, 2024 2 min read

Over 10, 000 farmers across the country are set to benefit from cutting-edge farming technology, aiming to increase food production by more than 300 per cent and address the challenges posed by climate change.

This initiative stems from Kenya’s selection to spearhead the implementation of the smart farming technology, championed by Spowdi, a Swedish green innovation organisation, in collaboration with ChildFund International.

The project aims to promote sustainable smart farming practices among smallholder farmers in Africa.

The initial phase of the project will commence with a pilot supporting 250 smallholder farmers in Migori and Nyeri counties, with plans to scale up to reach 10, 000 farmers across the country in the next three years.

Following the successful completion of this phase, the initiative will be replicated in other African countries, including Uganda, Ethiopia, Zambia, Mozambique, Guinea, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and The Gambia.

Mr Chege Ngugi, ChildFund International Africa Regional Director, emphasises the need to support smallholder farmers in adopting modern techniques to enhance production.

“By adopting Spowdi’s technology, our farmers will grow more food using less water, ensuring both sufficient consumption and surplus for sale,” he states.

The partnership between ChildFund International and Spowdi, formalised with a three-year agreement signed at COP28 (United Nations Climate Change Conference), aims to introduce smart farming technologies to tens of thousands of smallholder farmers, promoting enhanced food production while minimising water usage.

Farmers participating in the project will receive equipment and training in smart irrigation technology, including Spowdi’s solar-powered, mobile water distribution systems.

The systems will be used for training in micro-irrigation techniques, with demonstration sites, testbeds, and training hubs established for farmers, trainers, distributors, educationists, and other partners.

Spowdi’s technology boasts an impressive increase in agricultural food production by over 300 per cent, accompanied by up to 80 per cent less water usage.

Mr Henrik Johansson, Spowdi CEO, highlights the system’s potential for higher profitability, better livelihoods, and its ability to empower communities to achieve food self-sufficiency.

He emphasises, “The technology helps smallholder farmers move away from fossil fuels, reducing the time spent on the field, which can then be allocated to other socio-economic activities”.

He underlines the project’s broader objectives, aiming to promote food security, economic empowerment, environmental sustainability, and address malnutrition challenges in rural sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the UN’s 2022 report, “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World”, about 3.1 billion people globally are unable to afford a healthy diet.

The statistics further indicates that an estimated 45 million children who are under five years of age suffer from wasting, while 149 million have stunted growth and development due to a chronic lack of nutritious food in their diet.

In Africa, food security, hunger, and malnutrition persist as significant challenges for many households, exacerbated by traditional farming methods and the adverse impacts of climate change, including droughts and floods.

However, Africa is estimated to contribute just 4 per cent of the global Carbon (gas) emissions.