Kilimo Assists Farmers in Water Conservation and Earning Incentives


When people think about water usage, they typically consider drinking water and daily showers. However, a significant portion of water is actually used for farming, with 70% going towards crops in many regions, and even up to 90% in low-income countries.

Farmers often rely on subsidized irrigation systems, as governments focus on food production over water management. This can lead to over-extraction of water resources, leaving limited supplies for other uses. Companies facing water shortages can suffer significant economic losses, making water management crucial.

Enter Kilimo, a startup that develops risk management tools to help farmers monitor and optimize water usage. By analyzing soil moisture and satellite imagery, the company provides advice to farmers on reducing their water consumption, enabling them to generate more revenue. When farmers successfully reduce their water usage, Kilimo can sell excess water to companies in the same watershed, sharing proceeds with the farmers.

With a presence in South America and plans to expand into the Southwestern United States and Europe, Kilimo has secured $7.5 million in funding to support its growth. The company partners with major corporations, such as Microsoft, Intel, and Coca-Cola, to achieve its goals and leverage their expertise and resources. Founder Jairo Trad believes that joint efforts from companies, governments, and financial institutions can drive significant positive change.

Kilimo’s innovative approach has already demonstrated significant results, yielding 20% to 40% profit increases for farmers. By promoting more efficient water use and creating additional revenue streams, Kilimo seeks to make a meaningful impact in the face of mounting water scarcity concerns.

Tim De Chant
Tim De Chant
Senior climate reporter. Previously, Tim has written for Wired magazine, The Wire China, the Chicago Tribune, and NOVA Next, among others, and he is also a lecturer in MIT’s Graduate Program in Science Writing. De Chant was awarded a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT in 2018, and he received his PhD in environmental science, policy, and management from the University of California, Berkeley.

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