Agriculture, Case Studies, Education, LoRaWAN

OPEN: Implementing Precision Farming in Kenya


  • Who: One Planet Education Network (OPEN) is an organization that aims to enhance education around the globe by integrating new technologies and real-world relevance into the learning experience. Established in 1998, OPEN initially focused on serving the education sector but has since expanded its reach to include commercial, NGO, and government sectors. Its global network spans 17 countries and includes learners, customers, and partners.
  • What: With a special focus on IoT and AI technologies, OPEN develops sustainable community projects that equip learners and customers with the knowledge and tools to effectively address global challenges such as food security, climate change mitigation, ecosystem restoration, and farm security.
  • How: By leveraging the power of platforms such as Ubidots, and other important hardware and service providers, OPEN implements educational programs around the world that seek to involve children and communities around innovative studies such as the regenerative research experiments they’re conducting with the Bungoma (Kenya) Ministry of Agriculture.
  • For whom: OPEN seeks to plant the seeds of innovation in the apprentices of each project, like those involved in the experiment at Bungoma, Kenya, where the goal is for local farmers to improve their practices and achieve better results with regenerative agriculture through precision farming.


Shifting from traditional farming to technology-backed precision farming in areas where internet access isn’t reliable nor ubiquitous presents a unique set of obstacles. That’s the case for many farmers in Bungoma, Kenya, a place that’s ideal for farming optimization thanks to its privileged location amongst the most fertile lands in the country, but where internet access remains low, following the trend of a country with around 42% of internet penetration. Without reliable internet connectivity, accessing real-time data —crucial for precision farming— becomes difficult, hindering farmers' ability to make informed and timely decisions about crop or soil management.

Looking to overcome this, a transformative experiment led by One Planet Education Network (OPEN) and Mabanga Agriculture Training Center (ATC) is being conducted in Bungoma by implementing IoT technology to enhance crop yields, improve soil fertility, combat drought, and promote eco-friendly farming, thus contributing to sustainable agriculture in the region.

In the context of global warming and looking to tackle issues such as soil erosion,  the Bungoma experiment is also focusing on the implementation of no-till farming and regenerative farming practices. Till farming, a traditional method where soil is disturbed, releases a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. Disturbed topsoil becomes vulnerable to wind and water erosion, leading to the depletion of organic matter content.


With OPEN’s support, local farmers and students across different Bungoma test sites have successfully deployed sensors and gateways made by the hardware manufacturer Seeed Studio that communicate to the cloud using the LoRaWAN network Helium and, ultimately, deliver their data to Ubidots, the enablement platform where crop and soil information is easily visualized and monitoring alerts are set up.

Soil and air monitoring dashboard built with Ubidots.

Opposite to Wi-Fi or mobile networks, LoRaWAN offers distinct advantages for precision farming in rural areas with Bungoma’s characteristics. Its low-power, wide-area network technology enables long-range communication, making it suitable for covering vast terrains. Unlike Wi-Fi, which requires infrastructure like routers and access points, LoRaWAN operates on a decentralized network, minimizing the need for costly infrastructure investments. Moreover, its low power consumption extends the lifespan of battery-operated sensors and devices, reducing maintenance efforts and costs. Additionally, LoRaWAN provides a cost-effective alternative to mobile networks in agricultural use cases such as this one given its smaller bandwidth requirements.

The deployed devices allow participants to collect important crop and soil data such as temperature, humidity, electrical conductivity, and CO2 levels. Having this information readily available in Ubidots allows them to, on a basic level, make informed decisions about irrigation and fertilization, while on a more advanced level gives them the ability to mitigate soil erosion and even increase CO2 retention.

Why Ubidots?

Whether for a large agricultural operation or an experiment such as OPEN’s, using Ubidots for precision farming in a rural area like Bungoma, Kenya, offers significant advantages. With its comprehensive visualization tools and drag-n-drop dashboards, Ubidots turns monitoring into an intuitive task that leads to more informed and accurate decision-making. The platform allows participants to easily receive data generated by the deployed sensors to be visualized from any location and by any member of the project, allowing them to monitor key metrics at all times.

However, ingestion and visualization are only a part of a successful monitoring operation, that’s why Ubidots offers many more tools such as its Events module. It allows users to granularly configure alerts in the form of SMS, emails, calls or messaging app’s notifications that are generated when the defined conditions are met. This ensures that all the participants in the Bungoma experiment are up to date with important events, even when they’re away from a computer or the test sites themselves.


As a result of OPEN’s precision farming practices in Bungoma, test bed sites have shown exceptional results over four growing seasons, restoring soil health and promoting sustainable, eco-friendly agriculture.

Based on regenerative farming, the Bungoma experiments have produced promising results when compared to traditional farming methods. Backed by data and the implementation of cover crops, no-till farming, and crop rotation, the experiment has managed to increase the soil’s CO2 retention compared to more traditional methods.

More from OPEN and its partners

A joint effort between OPEN and its partners RAKwireless, Helium, and Ubidots has resulted in a line of education kits designed to help students learn and create a wide variety of sensor types to make weather monitoring sensors, climate change monitoring sensors, or even pollution particulate sensors for gardening, farming, and other applications.

Thanks to these education kits and results like those achieved in Bungoma, similar efforts have been started in other parts of Kenya and the world to improve agriculture and crop yields. Kenya is leading OPEN’s sustainable agriculture education effort with assistance from many students, universities, and professional expert advisors worldwide.

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About Adriano Toro