Komaza is Using AI and Satellite Data to Support Tree Farming in Kenya

KFS Forest 2020
A mangrove forest in Kenya coastal region. Photo credit: www.grida.no

Komaza, a distributed forestry company that partners with smallholder farmers in Kenya to plant trees for sale as sustainable wood products, is now enhancing farming through AI and Satellite data. 

 

Komaza’s technological innovation will guide thousands of farmers in coastal and central regions on planting and tending to trees to benefit from the booming timber market. Komaza’s micro-forestry model is focusing on small, local farmers instead of on large plantations. The model is executed as a partnership between Komaza and the farmers.

The new model provides an 80% cost savings over traditional plantations, for every acre planted, while unlocking more land for forestry activities. Towards empowering this model, Komaza will now use a new direct-to-farmer mobile application to promote the registration of more farmers on the platform, while allowing farmers to benefit from best-practices provided on the app.

The company is planning to use recent remote sensing and artificial intelligence pilot project for automated monitoring of farms. The company offers a forestry model that aligns the interests of local communities with global objectives to combat climate change. The Komaza model will allow local farmers to utilise satellite data from their mobile devices with ease.

With more than 400 field workers using mobile apps to track the progress of each tree planted by over 5,000 farmers in the past five years, Komaza is combining high-scale operations with digital intelligence to ensure trees are grown per the required standards to meet the increasing demand of timber in Kenya and the region. Komaza is currently planting commercial-grade forests in Kilifi and Central Kenya with a target of planting over one million trees by more than 5,000 new farmers every year. It also targets to plant one billion trees by 2030 and unlocking investments worth $400 million.

The firm’s model involves farmers dedicating one acre of their farms for the project with Komaza supplying the seedlings and other farm inputs such as sawmills at no cost.

Majority of the farmers in Kenya’s Coast and Central regions engage in subsistence fruit and vegetable farming. Komaza will intensify partnerships with these smallholder farmers to help them adopt inter-cropping. They will provide the farmers with training, planting inputs, maintenance support, harvesting services, and a guaranteed market for trees and wood products.