SunCulture, a leader in technology solutions for smallholder farmers, last week announced the launch of two transformative products designed to boost the productivity of the world’s 570 million smallholder farming families.
RainMaker2 powered by ClimateSmart™ is a smart solar-powered irrigation kit that brings best in class precision irrigation to smallholder farmers in Africa for the first time. By combining this technology with an Internet of Things (IoT) platform, wireless sensors, and advance machine learning algorithms, SunCulture is able to predict trends to optimize performance in real-time and offer affordable, easy-to-understand precision farming tools that were previously unimaginable for a smallholder farmer. For example, SunCulture’s AgOptimized soil sensors and internet-connected weather stations allow the company to provide customers with weather forecasts and precision irrigation timing alerts by SMS, as well as alert farmers if they need to apply more fertilizer to their farm. RainMaker2 with ClimateSmart™ enables digital dry run protection to automatically disable a farmer’s RainMaker2 pump and notify them if their well runs dry.
Samir Ibrahim, SunCulture’s Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, said, “Our vision is to build a world where people take control of their environment in rewarding, sustainable ways. The AgOptimized IoT platform is a significant step towards that. This is the first time that these precision agriculture services are available to smallholder farmers in Africa, and we’re excited to be leading these innovations.”
RainMaker2, the next generation of SunCulture’s popular solar-powered water pump, offers more than double the amount of water than its predecessor and a longer lifetime of ten years. RainMaker2 enables farmers to increase their land under irrigation and can lift water from rivers, wells, or boreholes up to 210 feet deep. Paired with SunCulture’s ClimateSmart™ Solar Energy System, RainMaker2 operates reliably during extended cloudy periods, enables pumping during the afternoon and evening for increased irrigation effectiveness, and drives high-pressure sprinkler irrigation systems directly without the need to install expensive water tanks.
SunCulture’s new ClimateSmart™ Solar Energy System holds tremendous promise for the more than 2 billion people who lack access to electricity or who live with unreliable electricity service by providing high-quality, reliable power for appliances that sustainably increase household productivity and solve everyday challenges. ClimateSmart™, a powerful off-grid solar energy management system, is an advanced lithium-ion battery pack with Maximum PowerPoint Tracking (MPPT) and IoT sensor, connectivity, optimization, and predictive maintenance capabilities, powered by Microsoft Azure Artificial Intelligence. ClimateSmart™ brings data-driven performance optimization to the off-grid power sector, enabling high-efficiency operation of solar water pumps along with a range of 12 and 24 volt productive use and domestic appliances up to 500 Watts – with a home lighting kit and mobile phone charging capabilities included as standard.
“The off-grid sector has made tremendous strides in the last decade. But what has been missing is the ability to power machinery that enables billions of people living in smallholder farming families to take control of their environment and escape poverty through increased agricultural productivity. That changes now. We’re incredibly proud of the work our teams have done to lead this productive technology revolution” said Charles Nichols, SunCulture’s Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder.
Jacinta Kerugo, a 63-year-old SunCulture customer in Matanya, Kenya, says, “RainMaker2 has enable me to expand my farm, whether it's sunny or rainy my farm looks the same. It’s wet always. The pump is so silent you can't even tell when it's pumping. It pumps a lot of water and it takes little time to fill my tank. Lights are so bright and my grandchildren are doing study till midnight. Nowadays am always online because I don't have challenges with phone charging.”
In 2018, SunCulture singed a partnership agreement with EDF Group, one of the world’s largest electric utility companies and a global leader in low-carbon energy, to further develop SunCulture’s business model in Kenya and extend their cooperation to new markets. In addition to financial support, EDF provides SunCulture with technical expertise of its R&D department to enhance product performance. Drawing on its experience in off-grid business in Côte D’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo, EDF offers operational support and is assisting SunCulture in setting up financing vehicles designed to help farmers afford SunCulture’s solution under SunCulture’s Pay-As-You-Grow platform.
Rainmaker2 With ClimateSmart™ Resources
SunCulture develops and commercializes life-changing technology that solves the biggest daily challenges for the world’s 570m smallholder farming households. SunCulture’s partners include EDF Group, Energy Access Ventures, Partners Group Impact, Shell Foundation, Microsoft Corporation, and USAID. SunCulture recently won awards for Excellence in Transformational Business and Achievement in Sustainable Development: Food, Water and Land at the Financial Times and International Financial Corporation Transformational Business Awards.
You can read more about SunCulture at their Innovator page.