This project is completed

Smart Water for Agriculture (2016-2019) aims to save water and energy, and to ensure sustainable resource use by promoting farmer-led and market-based smart water products and services. These will also help to reduce labour and inputs, mitigate weather related risks, and promote off-season production opportunities. By bringing stakeholders together in 'Irrigation Acceleration Platforms' the programme aims to facilitate smart water innovation across selected counties in Kenya.

The objective of this programme is to contribute to increased water productivity in agriculture, and increased income and food security through the development of a dynamic and sustainable ‘Smart Water Solutions’ (SWS) sector in Kenya, that adequately meet the needs of small and medium-sized entrepreneurial (SME) farmers. The target is to increase water productivity by 20% for 20,000 SME farmers (at least 50% women and 80% are vegetable producers), for them to have secured water access for agriculture production, and become more resilient to climate change.

Smart Water for Agriculture operates under the guiding principles that solutions must be farmer-led, market-based and accessible to women. The smart water solutions promoted are commerical products and services that will address specific priorities for women farmers, save water and energy, and serve sustainable resource use, but also in many cases also reduce labour and inputs, mitigate weather related risks, and promote off-season production opportunities.

Who will benefit?

Small and medium-sized entrepreneurial (SME) farmers in Kenyan counties - Uasin Gishu, Nakuru, Nyeri, Meru, Laikipia and Machakos. (Following a six month inception phase the final list of particpating counties will be determined.)

Suppliers and providers of smart water solutions - Kenya and Dutch private companies and entrepreneurs as well as NGOs and county agencies that play a supportive role.

Programme Impact Areas:

The programme will implement five priority impact areas.

Establish Irrigation Acceleration Platforms in the targeted geographical areas which facilitate multi-stakeholder collaboration, where supply and demand side meet and interact, where innovation will be supported to more adequately satisfy the needs of farmers, and where private sector, farming communities, and actors of the enabling environment can engage.

Improve the use of and access to smart water products and services, including an increased range of SWS options to be available at local level, widely demonstrated to farmers, and supplied by strong private sector delivery systems.

Support improved access to finance; a prerequisite for adoption and scaling of SWS, even by entrepreneurial farmers. Various kinds of financial institutions must be engaged to provide services, while the programme will also support the development of new financial products.

Increase access to Smart Water Services knowledge and build demand. The possibilities of and opportunities provided by adopting SWS will be disseminated to generate demand and create a market for private sector suppliers. In turn this will support upscaling of the results.

Create business linkages and support companies (Dutch/Kenyan) to invest in improved SW-services and products for a more dynamic and innovate sector.

Gender and Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) are cross-cutting issues, receiving prominent attention in all outcomes. Most of the farm work is done by women, but they face different challenges in adopting SWS. A clear gender strategy will be developed and implemented that will ensure full participation of women throughout the programme implementation process and lead to concrete gender outcomes.

Key facts



Agricultural water productivity to increase by 20%, and 20,000 SME-farmers adopt Smart Water Solutions - of which at least 50% are women. 5 counties linked to Irrigation Acceleration platforms promoting SWS to 200.000 farmers.


Initiate a national platform for impact at scale. Range of smart water products & services to double.Capacity of 200 key SWS providers strengthened.


12.500 farmers gain access to finance for SWS. 8+ million people aware of SWS via Shamba Shape Up campaign. 10 Dutch & Kenyan companies supported to invest in SWS sector.

Our experts

Sebastian Oggema

CRAFT & FLIA Project Manager

Vandana Thottoli

Business & Partnership Advisor

Donors & Partners