Inclusive Data

How entrepreneurs are using data to empower communities

Real-time information for farmers enables climate adaptation

Real-time information for farmers enables climate adaptation

Interview with Moses Kimani, Founder and CEO, Lentera Africa

Lentera Africa is an AgriTech company providing farmers with practical tools and opportunities to succeed through:

  • Market linkages for selected farm commodities: We purchase and market selected commodities from smallholder farmers providing much-needed market access
  • Technology-enabled farmer advisory services: Using our advanced technology stack to enable improved yield and quality
  • Quality farm inputs and equipment:  We finance and distribute selected quality and affordable organic inputs to farmers

How does Lentera use data to enable farmers to adapt to climate change?

We use satellite and weather data to provide farmers with crop specific advice with regards to fertilizers, pests and diseases, and water management of their farms. This helps farmers adapt their agronomy practices in line with changing climate patterns. We also use market data to recommend what crops to plant, and we enable farmers to access urban farm produce consumer markets through our Farmers Best farm produce marketplace.

What types of data are most important for adaptation?

Rainfall, temperature, soil moisture and relative humidity. These parameters have a direct bearing on crop growth and yield that the farmers will get. Considering changing weather patterns seen in the last couple of years, monitoring these parameters closely ensures farmers can adapt their treatment of the crop based on field conditions.

You have introduced an integrated farm advisory and mapping platform that offers farm-specific information. How does this kind of real-time information have a positive impact on farmers and local communities?

Yes it does, farmers can use our platform for practical decision making, such as identifying damaged irrigation pipes, identifying stressed crops and deciding which crops to grow during the long rains and short rain period.

We are facing a global food crisis. What is the role of agricultural data in making the food system more resilient?

Agricultural data will have an immense role in addressing the current food crisis at two levels:

  1. At a macroeconomic level, getting high level information for governments is critical to ensure proper planning, fiscal incentives and guidance to farmers as to which crops to plant and more importantly, when to plant crops based on expected weather variations. An example of this is how we are seeing agro-ecological zones changing. In Kenya, areas that were suitable for coffee production in the 1970s and 80s are no longer suitable as farmers struggle to get a sustainable yield due to increased temperatures, and areas that were previously not suitable due to high altitude and cold weather are warming up and opening up prospects to grow coffee.
  2. At the farm level, agricultural data will provide decision support to farmers, cooperatives and farmer business groups as they grapple with the twin crises of soaring input costs and changing climatic patterns.

What trends do you foresee for agri-data management systems in the future?

I foresee a massive consolidation and standardization of agri-data systems. The current crises will spur active merger and acquisition activities in this space. As it stands, there are no dominant players and each innovator comes us with his or her platform, and these platforms don’t always talk to each other. This interoperability will likely be the future of data systems for agriculture.

Moses Kimani

Moses Kimani is Founder and CEO at Lentera Ltd, a farming technology company that provides farmers with market linkage opportunities, digital extension services and quality inputs. Prior to founding Lentera, he held roles with TechnoServe, Dow Chemical Company, Sanergy, and African management Institute. He holds a Master of Business Administration from IMD (International Institute for Management Development ).

Table of contents

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Learn more about how data can empower communities by reading this twenty-third edition of the online magazine on Inclusive Business! The illustration was developed by Christopher Malapitan, a visual practitioner and trainer based in Brussels.…

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Inclusive Data: How entrepreneurs are using data to empower communities

Data – especially consumer data – is often viewed as a tool used by Big Tech and multi-national companies for their own benefit. However, data and digital access can also be empowering and provide access to opportunities and solutions that were previously out of reach, particularly for low-income communities. According to the World Bank report Data for Better Lives, “Innovations like these herald the promise of business models that apply data to create new and better goods and services, helping to address development challenges in the process.” In this issue of CLUED-iN, we speak with entrepreneurs using data in meaningful ways to benefit communities in sectors ranging from health to agriculture.

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Technologies For Smallholder Farmers - A Balancing Act

Based on his own experiences, founder David Chen details why it is necessary to strike a balance to ensure data and technology are utilized appropriately to support smallholder farmers as they transition to more sustainable practices.

Real-time information for farmers enables climate adaptation

Moses Kimani, founder of Lentera Africa, explains how real-time data can help farmers adapt to climate change and anticipates how agricultural data management will evolve in the future.