FarmShield™ – Illuminum Greenhouses™ Kenya

FarmShield™

Africa’s first complete smart farming solution for farmers

Your farm at your fingertips

With FarmShield™ you can remotely control your farm from your mobile phone and dashboard while getting real-time information on fertigation and irrigation needs for your crop.

It’s really easy to use! you just buy our FarmShield™ online, we deliver, install and set up your cloud access to allow you manage your farm from our app, web portal or even USSD platform.

Automatic water regulation

Automatic water regulation

Instant SMS alerts from farm sensors

Instant SMS alerts from farm sensors

Powered by solar = 24/7 farm monitoring

Powered by solar = 24/7 farm monitoring

The FarmSpears™

The FarmSpears™ collect data on the state of the soil such as the soil moisture, farm ambient temperature, light intensity and humidity then sends it to the FarmShield™.

How do they work?

The FarmShield™ talks to 2 stand-alone sensors we call FarmSpears™ due to the nature of its installation where you spear it to the ground. A FarmSpear™ houses these sensors and equipment:

  1. NPK Nutrient Sensor (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium)
  2. Soil Moisture Sensor
  3. Soil Temperature Sensor
  4. Air Humidity Sensor
  5. Air Temperature Sensor
  6. Light Intensity Sensor
  7. Water flow meter to monitor irrigation
  8. Solar Panel and Battery
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The FarmShield™

The FarmShield™ is the brain of the farm and shields the farm from any adverse conditions. It combines data from both spears, checks if anything has exceeded the required levels in the farm and if so, takes the necessary action to correct it.

The FarmShield™ makes smart decisions on the farm such as:

  1. Opening and closing the irrigation system to let water flow into the farm if the soil moisture sensors report low soil moisture levels.
  2. Actuating on greenhouse fans to evacuate humidity in the greenhouse if the air humidity sensors report high humidity levels.
  3. Opening and closing of the greenhouse side ventilation if the air temperature sensor reports high-temperature levels.
  4. Timely alerts on low or high levels of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium in the soil.

The Cloud

The data sent to the cloud by the FarmShield™ is stored, analysed and displayed on our dashboard which farmers interact with to provide information. The dashboard displays real-time information of your farm to the second and is accessible by our app, web portal or USSD.

The dashboard is a complete turnkey system with tiles on managing your FarmShield™ device, placing orders for farm inputs, ordering trucks to collect your harvests to even raising invoices for payment by your customers. Some of our beta pilot farmers call it; “the complete farming management portal”

Why did we decide to build FarmShield™?

95% of our farmers had major challenges controlling their greenhouse conditions and irrigation systems like drip and sprinkler on their open farms. We found that sensors would help farmers to automate some of these processes. However, when we tried ordering some existing solutions, there were some major setbacks:

Lack of electricity in rural areas

Lack of electricity in rural areas

Low 3G/4G/WiFi connectivity in rural areas

Low 3G/4G/WiFi connectivity in rural areas

High cost of existing solutions

High cost of existing solutions

It was clear that we had to build our solution from the ground up with constant feedback from smallholder farmers on what they needed most and could afford.

We decided to build our custom solution to help farmers set up their greenhouses, irrigation systems and open farms.

Here’s how it went:

Version 2.0 - Proof of concept in 2016

Based on the lessons from v1 and farmers’ feedback, we set out to build a system that had more sensors, powered by solar and better processing capabilities. This time, we used Raspberry pi and added in a flow meter sensor to give farmers the information they wanted to see through a sim card we installed in the system. Testing sites were increased to 16 across Kenya.

The results were encouraging, farmers were able to plan better with the water information while reducing water expenses on their farm by up to 60%. For the first time, we installed the device in rural farms due to the solar power capability we had added.

Despite this good progress, v2 had challenges which we still needed to improve on;

  1. The sensors were wired all through the farm hence farmers would cut these wires frequently during weeding and harvesting.
  2. The sensors we used were power-hungry and would deplete the battery during the night forcing the system to wait till morning in order to send data.
  3. The system was too bulky and installation was complicated for farmers.
  4. It was too costly to be implemented at scale.
  5. Despite using a GSM Module with a Sim Card, connectivity was still not robust and strong enough

Version 3.0: 2018 - FarmSpear installed in Nakuru during testing.

We partnered with BRCK in Nairobi to develop v3 and simplified our design to run with picoBRCK. Sensors were made wireless and communicated to a central hub which then pushed all the information to the cloud. With v3, we introduced energy-efficient sensors with larger batteries which would power the system all through the night till day to recharge.

For the design, we worked with Catapult Design to develop a much more ruggedized and compact hardware casing that would ensure simplistic installation for our farmers while maintaining durability and affordability. We added in a much smarter code with more sensor data which was able to provide much more valuable information to the farmers during the pilot phase. The picoBRCK allowed us to use 1 board for all the needs we had meaning we saved costs which were passed directly to the farmers.

v3 was the final near product we were confident farmers would use on their farms. It gave better and accurate data, it was faster, efficient and beyond all affordable but we still wanted to make it better.

After our testing phase, we agreed that as much as connectivity was low in rural areas, there was a positive indication that it was growing and at the same time, smartphone penetration in Kenya was already at 83% with costs of devices as low as $40 in the market. The market situation had changed as compared to when we started building our solution in 2013. We decided to suspend rolling out v3 and build v4 that would bring on board the following powerful tools:

  1. Use of the internet to collect unlimited data cheaply from the farm to the cloud and drop the SMS channel.
  2. Introduce cloud analytics through Artificial Intelligence to provide predictive information to farmers based on sensor data.
  3. Introduce Machine Learning technology in v4 to enable accurate fertigation and irrigation cycles in comparison with historical farming data.
  4. Create a 1 stop online web portal that would contain all information and processes for farmers.

The Future: Farmshield™ 4.0: 2020

Version 4.0 Design works from Catapult

We understand that our device must continually evolve to serve the needs of farmers across Sub Saharan Africa. We have therefore combined efforts with partners to further improve our system to catapult farmers to the digital age through our new device Farmshield™ 4.0.

This is going to be the most intelligent, easy to use and affordable system we have ever built and that’s why we are excited to bring to you Farmshield™ 4.0. Farmshield™ 4.0 brings together two UK and three Kenyan partners to combine advanced sensor know-how, machine-learning analytics and knowledge of local needs to develop a novel system that will allow smallholder farmers to achieve high-yield greenhouse farming at low cost, increasing their food security and allowing them to move from subsistence farming to cash crops. v4 is a low- cost greenhouse microclimate monitoring and management system that utilises soil sensors, climate and weather information to optimise irrigation and environmental conditions for specific crops.

The system analyses real-time information provided by soil sensors, mid-term weather information obtained from online service providers, climate information based on historical weather patterns, and combines these with the specific crop needs to determine the optimal watering pattern – maximising crop health and yield while keeping fertiliser and water consumption to a minimum.

v4 comes with FREE INSTALLATION* in all farms across East Africa only. (terms & conditions apply)

Pricing plans that work for your farm

We recognise that our farmers are at different stages in their journey towards achieving their success goals. That’s why we’ve created different one-off plans for you to use FarmShield™ software and sensors to monitor your greenhouses & farms 24/7 at the stage you’re in.

CAPABILITIES LITE BASIC PREMIUM
(Recommended)
PRO
Automatic open and closing of water valve based on time/amount of water flowing
Data on amount of water irrigated from Flow meter sensor
Set and get alerts on parameters exceeded based on sensor connected
Automatic open and closing of water valve based on soil moisture sensor readings
Temperature and Humidity Sensor 1 Sensor 2 Sensors 2 Sensors
Soil Moisture sensor 1 Sensor 2 Sensors 2 Sensors
Light Intensity Sensor 1 Sensor 1 Sensor 1 Sensor
CO2 Sensor to monitor Photosynthesis 1 Sensor 1 Sensor
NPK Sensor to measure amounts of fertiliser needed 1 Sensor
SMS, Email and App alerts
Cloud Access to view data via 2G/3G
Solar Panel for power
Free farm delivery, Installation and configuration
Ksh.50,000 (USD.450) + VAT Ksh.85,000 (USD.750) + VAT Ksh.125,000 (USD.1,100) + VAT Ksh.170,000 (USD.1,550) + VAT
Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now

Become a reseller and introduce FarmShield™ to your customers.

We value partnerships and our reseller program allows you to introduce our technology in your market with the option of whitelabelling. Here are some benefits you get:

Up to 20% discount on our devices

Up to 20% discount on our devices

Dedicated 24/7 support & account manager

Dedicated 24/7 support & account manager

Free lifetime firmware upgrades via OTA

Free lifetime firmware upgrades via OTA

White-label with your own brand

White-label with your own brand

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