A remote watering system for farmers in Africa.
In Niger, farmers devote almost two-thirds of their time to watering with a high rate of water loss and wastage. To facilitate their daily lives and efficiently manage water resources, Tech-Innov has developed a remote tele-irrigation system that can be operated from a mobile phone.
Abdou Maman Kané, Chief Executive Officer of Tech-Innov
The Télé-Irrigation solution consists of three essential elements:
- an electric pump powered by solar collectors,
- a connected box equipped with a SIM card,
- a telephone.
With just a call or a text, farmers can start and stop their irrigation device from wherever they happen to be. Thus, they optimize both the management of their time and their water consumption.
The challenge for the start-up: to develop a product which is both technologically advanced and accessible
In Niger, literacy rates are among the lowest in the world. Tech-Innov therefore needed to develop a technological solution which was both easy to use and accessible to all. The mobile phone met this requirement:
- 97% of Africans will have one by 2017,
- 90% of Niger is already covered by the mobile telephone network.
In a country where agriculture is the primary contributor to GDP, we immediately discovered that Télé-Irrigation could facilitate life in Niger and more widely on the African continent. Orange has a strong CSR policy in Africa, and wanted to support Tech-Innov in what is a real social project.
Jean Louis Branco, Director of Orange Niger
Télé-Irrigation has been marketed to farmers in Niger since 2013, but it was in 2011, at the first edition of the Orange African Social Venture Prize, that Orange identified the Tech-Innov solution.
During those two intervening years, Orange and Tech-Innov partnered in the technical development of the project. Tech-Innov has received financial and technical support from experts from Orange for the technical development of its mobile solution.
The African start-up has also set up a partnership with Orange Niger, which manages the routing of calls to a call center dedicated to the service, as well as the invoicing of calls.
Outlook: to expand its area of operation
After two years of marketing, Télé-Irrigation is being used by 200 farmers and the fledgling firm intends to continue its progress.
Successful launch in Niger. Tech-Innov currently aims to develop throughout West Africa, starting with Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Mali.
For this the company needs to overcome a significant challenge: the cost of access to its solution, which can be significant for small farmers. Tech-Innov is looking for international financing partners that would allow it to offer its clients microloans for a turnkey solution.
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