Esther Kimani

Esther Kimani: PHOTO[CREDITS]

Esther Kimani, a pioneering Kenyan innovator, has clinched the prestigious Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation from the Royal Academy of Engineering. Her groundbreaking invention, a solar-powered device employing AI and machine learning, detects agricultural pests and diseases with remarkable precision.

Key Points:

  • Innovation and Impact: Esther Kimani’s device aims to slash crop losses for smallholder farmers by up to 30% while increasing yields by 40%.
  • Recognition: She becomes the third woman in Africa and second in Kenya to receive this esteemed engineering award.
  • Award Details: Esther received Ksh 8.1 million (£50,000), the largest prize sum in the history of the Africa Prize, which she plans to utilize for expanding her innovation’s reach.
  • Future Goals: Esther aims to scale her technology to benefit one million farmers across Kenya in the next five years and extend its impact to five more African countries.

Innovative Features:

  • Technical Specifications: The AI-powered device operates 24/7, delivering real-time pest and disease alerts via SMS with 97% accuracy.
  • Affordability: Farmers can lease the device for just sh 386 (£3) monthly, providing a cost-effective alternative to traditional agricultural inspection methods.
  • Scalability: Esther plans to enhance the device’s range to 1500 meters, potentially aiding 10,000 farmers, up from the current 5,000.

Impact and Vision:

  • Social Impact: Esther’s innovation not only empowers small-scale farmers, predominantly women, by increasing their income but also supports broader agricultural management efforts.
  • Visionary Leadership: Growing up witnessing her parents’ crop losses inspired Esther to develop a solution that directly addresses the challenges faced by smallholder farmers in Kenya and beyond.

Esther Kimani’s achievement not only celebrates African ingenuity but also underscores the transformative potential of technology in agriculture across the continent.