OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

DigiFarm:Mobile phone linked and solar powered drip irrigation kit

Data collected by the sensors is updated to an online server and provide real time climate information to smallholder farmers through sms

Photo of Lunyiliko Komba
2 1

Written by


We are empowering a generation of energetic and ambitious smallholder farmers through our mobile phone linked drip irrigation kit by changing their narrative from subsistence farming to sustainable agribusiness. By rent to owning affordable greenhouses,automated drip kits and solar powered micro-climate parameter sensors we'll help 25% of smallholder farmers save up to 40% of current irrigation costs, empower them to produce consistently high yields of high quality products year round and conserve the environment by creating limitless integration channeled through irrigation drip lines and remotely link them up to the farmers mobile phone. Our solution is simple, affordable greenhouses with sensor technology. Greenhouses offer a controlled and regulated environment. So, what’s different with ours? We seek to create a limitless integrated modern greenhouse with sensors that monitor temperature, humidity, soil moisture and most importantly regulate the water supply which is channeled through drip lines and link them up to the farmers mobile phone. The monitoring and regulation is done by the farmer remotely through their mobile phones. They can be able to open and close their irrigation system and query and get alerts on their current sorrounding micro-climate status i.e Temperature, Humidity and Soil Moisture via SMS. This can be done timely just by sending a simple SMS to their greenhouse. This system is powered by solar panels thus green and can work in off-grid villages


In the next decade we target 10% of 2.3million Ha of high irrigation potential mostly from smallholder farmers doing horticulture and floriculture farming. In Tanzania irrigation potential estimated to be 29.4 million ha,of which 2.3 m Ha are of high potential, only 450,392 ha is used about 1.53%, only 3.85% use irrigation tools. This is caused by unavailability of Agri-tech solutions that smallholder farmers can afford and they are un aware of latest developments


Yes the idea will be implemented in southern highlands parts of Tanzania in Iringa region where our operations are based. We aim to pilot it with partnership from smallholder farmers and the relevant service providers with the help of authorities.


  • Yes


  • I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for over a year


  • Yes, for more than one year.


We're agribusiness enthusiasts doing open field and greenhouse farming.Our goal is to build a dependable company and our interest is to see a Tanzania where agri-tech will be a necessity to smallholder farmers and it helps them attain an improved food security and a stronger agricultural economy

Our greenhouse and open field automation system works by measuring and monitoring specific conditions needed for optimum growth of plants. This is done by electronic sensors that continuously monitor these set parameters and if exceeded rectifies the situation and notifies the farmer via an SMS alert.The system is equipped with a Soil moisture sensor that regulates and monitors water in the soil. If the soil moisture falls below the required minimum, the soil moisture sensor will detect this and immediately trigger the electronic gate valve to open and start irrigating the crops. As this is done, an SMS is sent to the farmer informing him of the current activity in the greenhouse. Once the water level in the soil is back to the required state, the soil moisture sensor then sends impulses to shut of the valve. Once off, irrigation stops and the farmer receives an SMS notifying him of the completed irrigation. The system is also automatic in that it can be set to irrigate the crops at predetermined time intervals leaving the farmer to concentrate on other activities in the greenhouse/open field farm such as weeding and pruning. This greatly improves water conservation as irrigation is only done at the required time and is accurately measured by the soil moisture sensor. Unlike the norm where the farmer has to be there every morning and evening to open the valve and approximates when the soil is wet enough to allow him/her to close it, this is now being done by a soil moisture sensor which is more accurate and precise with 0 human input. This data collected by the sensors is also dynamically updated to an online server for analyses to provide information such as graphs e.g temperature against time. These graphs are stored for up to an year so as to assist the farmer to plan for the next season as he/she will be able to know which months have the appropriate optimum conditions for growth. Currently 96.2% of Tanzanian smallholder farmers are engaged in subsistence farming where they inefficiently use scarce water resource , they over-rely in rain-fed agriculture , employ costly outdated farming practices which leads to unsustainable land use and this as a whole has led to a very minimal inclusion of the youth as are they are always tech-obsessed and through our rent-to-own model we'll incentivize affordability as our unit cost will be1/3 of perceived solution cost in the existing markets.


View more

Team (4)

Lunyiliko's profile
Twahilu R. Sheuya's profile
Twahilu R. Sheuya

Role added on team:

"Mr Twahilu Sheuya B.Sc. Civil Eng ,PGD Water Resources Development and Management experienced for more than 20 years in engineering consultancy and will help the company in its course of improvements in serving the rural communities as the intended target group enabling them be our consistent potential client base. He is a director at Don Consult Ltd an engineering consulting firm that has over eighteen years been actively engaged in the provision of Engineering services and project Management"

Ester Nziku's profile
Ester Nziku

Role added on team:

"The companies associates Ester L. Nziku, Cert in Ed , Dip in Ed. is experienced for more than 15 years in farming and will help the company in its course of day to day dissemination of extension education and improvements in serving the rural communities as the intended target group enabling them be future potential clients for agri-implements. She has worked as a ward education officer and a senior primary education extension and sensitization officer"

Innocent Mgaya's profile
Innocent Mgaya

Role added on team:

"Mr Innocent Mgaya, Bsc Env Eng. is the companies chief technical officer has a proven ability of supervising field work, equipment maintenance and logistics, he has an engineering background and over 5 years experience in engineering consultancy and project environmental impacts management,water Supply and Sanitation,Water Resources Engineering and management,Transportation Engineering,Irrigation and Drainage Engineering, Environmental, Social Impact Assessment and Structural Engineering."

Attachments (1)


Join the conversation:

Photo of Brian Powell

Hi Lunyiliko,

How much do the units cost?  Do they require a cellphone to be attached to the unit to send the info?  

I am very interested as getting timely and accurate weather information is critical to my farm insurance app so would like to learn more.


Photo of Lunyiliko Komba

Hi Brian,
Thanks for reaching out
.The gadget is first installed with a GSM 900/1800 SIM Card from any service provider based on its widespread network coverage. This SIM card is loaded with airtime and internet bundles and subscribed to the unlimited SMS service for a day,week or monthly arrangement. This will enable the system to send as many SMS as possible and you are supposed to be sending a query to this gadgets sim card to be receiving instant micro-climate status responses.The automated system currently goes for USD 400 due to the high developers costs of electronic components and assembly currently.Upon receiving funding we will soon be fabricating these devices in bulk and we project shall retail as low as USD 200 to make it affordable to all smallholder farmers. Installation charges are only USD 30. However, the system is designed to be very easy to install from the box to enable anyone to install. This shall be the cost of a complete system comprising of the Main Unit, Water gate valve, temperature sensor, humidity sensor and soil moisture sensor.
Also the system shall be based on the number of sensors a farmer acquires with the very basic system consisting of the Main Unit, a water gate valve and a soil moisture sensor costing only around USD 150.