Farmers now have a reason to smile after the introduction of a secure way to cut farming expenses following the launch of a remote monitored greenhouse.This is after Synnefa Green Ltd came up with sensors that monitor temperature, humidity, soil moisture, water supply and much more.
These statuses are transmitted to the farmer’s mobile phone. Meaning monitoring and regulation is done by the farmer remotely through their mobile phone.
The monitoring aspect includes opening and closing the irrigation system as well as querying to get SMS alerts on their current greenhouse statuses-in terms of temperature, humidity and soil moisture.
Should the farmer happen to delay more than 30 minutes without responding to the first SMS, the gadget will automatically start irrigating the crops until the moisture content is restored.
The greenhouse sensor system is powered by solar panels making the device marketable in rural areas, where electricity is still quite a challenge.
The smart farming technology is witnessing rapid widespread uptake, with a record 570 plus farmers in the country already benefiting from the initiative of one Taita Ngetich, Damaris Karanja, Alice Kamau, and Brian Bett.
The cost of an Illuminum greenhouse, with sensors or not, ranges from about Ksh 99,000 (Kadogo greenhouse) to Ksh 2 million (Maarufu).
Accommodating 1,000 plants, the Mwansizhi greenhouse, going for about Ksh 189,000, is 6 by 30 meters long, 3-3.5 meters high.
Cost inclusive of greenhouse polythene (1000 gauge, 200microns), drip irrigation system, irrigation fittings, water filter, insect net, timber structure (with plant support system and Installation labour, is a stand-alone structure with an upper ventilation to allow for proper air circulation while ensuring temperatures are maintained within the required limits.
Kadogo, the smallest of all, is made for 600 plants and costs about Ksh 99,000. With height ranging from 3-3.5 meters, length 20 meters.
It is designed to ensure maximum utilization of the land under cover while maintaining the seed capital at an affordable limit to a majority of farmers.
Designed to be installed with much ease, the automated sensor currently goes for Sh35,600 attributed to the high cost of electronic components and assembly.
But as plans are underway to fabricate the devices in China, the automated sensor will be retailing for as low as Ksh 15,000 making it affordable to smallholder farmers. Farmers pay Ksh 2,300 as installation charges.
Sýnnefa Green Ltd/illuminumgreenhouses.com also offers besides constructing greenhouses, other services such as soil tests, pre-site surveys, sensor technology, drip irrigation, and shade nets.