Kumva’s parent company iD&D was contracted by GIZ to develop and implement a smart irrigation system at the Horticultural Centre of Excellence (HCoE) in Rwanda, incorporating sensors to help better understand the conditions within 3 environments on-site, then use this information to automate irrigation processes independently within each environment. Information will then be consolidated from each location, visualised and evaluated, to see the viability of an automated irrigation product for smallholder farmers in the region. 

The workflow can be summarised in the following 5 steps:

  1. Collect baseline data on soil conditions, air conditions, water flow and light levels.
  2. Use this baseline data combined with local weather data to automate irrigation processes at the 3 locations on site (shade tunnel, greenhouse and open field).
  3. Store, clean and visualise the data collected, making it easily accessible on desktop and mobile devices.
  4. Evaluate the findings and measure crop yield variations between the smart irrigation zones and standard practice zones to quantify the potential value of smart irrigation in Rwanda. 
  5. Use information collected and lessons learned to develop an irrigation monitoring kit that could be made in Rwanda, helping smallholder farmers increase their productivity and revenues.

At the centre of the solution developed was the Kumva platform, with a solar-powered hub and a variety of sensors including, soil, air and pressure. These monitoring nodes would then share data which was used to automate drip irrigation processes through a hub connected to a DC latching solenoid. All items used are available to buy to create your own Smart Irrigation System!