Reducing the cost of agronomic diagnostics
iSDA is investing in near-infrared handheld sensors that will enable low-cost, farm-level measurement of soil properties, as well as the nutritional content of crops, feeds and manures, and diagnostics for a broader range of soil health factors. These next-generation soil sensors are based on plastic electronics developed by our electronics partners – Plastic Electronic Sensors (PES).
PES has developed a sensor that can tap into the wealth of information contained in the gases released by soil biota. Their technology was validated in England under an InnovateUK grant in 2018. Working as a team, iSDA, PES and ICRAF have obtained a follow-on InnovateUK grant to calibrate the technology in Kenya during 2020. Once the calibration is complete, iSDA will start designing a go-to-market strategy.
Meanwhile, iSDA has commissioned a scoping study to better understand the ecosystem for other next-generation technologies, and thereby decide whether we should be engaging with start-ups to develop other technologies.