Synnefa charts a food security path with smart greenhouses


By providing farmers with smart sensor-installed greenhouses, agriculture technology company Synnefa is solving three problems in Kenya: reducing the cost of farming, increasing crop yields, and boosting food security.

So far, the start-up company has installed more than 1,300 smart greenhouses across East Africa, reaching 11,000 farmers. This has consequently created opportunities for unemployed rural youth.

Founder and CEO Taita Ngetich says his business aligns with the government’s commitment to improving food security and doubling land under irrigation within the next five years.

‘‘We believe this is an opportune moment for systems such as smart greenhouses. Smart greenhouses provide a stable environment for optimal production based on the specific crop grown by optimizing the micro-climate conditions,’’ he says.

In terms of efficiency, Mr. Ngetich notes that smart greenhouses allow small-scale farmers to reduce water consumption in their structures by more than half compared to manual drip irrigation and even higher compared to surface irrigation.

‘‘A smart greenhouse reduces fertilizer input by 30 percent. It also yields 50 percent more than a manual greenhouse system,’’ he says, noting that this is done by use of artificial intelligence to control various inputs.

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