4R Digital

4R Digital aims to launch affordable solar water pumps and irrigation kits in Kenya, with water equipment supplier partners Davis and Shirtliff.

In Kenya, smallholder farmers produce the majority of the food supply, but most rely on increasingly unpredictable rainfall for irrigation. However, formal finance providers have long been averse to extending credit to smallholder farmers because they are perceived as high risk. Without tailored financing, most smallholder farmers are unable to access the solar irrigation that could almost double their daily income.

To address this challenge, 4R Digital is partnering with Davis & Shirtliff to adapt their business model to bring high quality solar irrigation solutions within reach of smallholder farmers in Kenya. Specialists in developing digital micropayment solutions that enable credit sales, 4R Digital will build a payment platform that offers credit for solar irrigation equipment on flexible and affordable terms, suitable for smallholder farmers. The platform will also allow for remote monitoring and locking of the equipment whilst providing full visibility to customers of their own financial data through the account management system.

The project will support up to 35,000 farmers in Kenya to replace unsustainable and inefficient hand, petrol and diesel pumps with modern smart solar water pumping systems. Davis & Shirtliff has a pre-existing range of solar pumping kits, the Sunflo Solar Pumping Systems, consisting of panels, a controller and a pump. The digital payment and monitoring platform designed by 4R Digital will be incorporated into the pump controller providing a payment facility.

Funding from PREO will enable the development and trialling of a digital PAYG platform suitable for the sale of solar water pumps and irrigation equipment to smallholder farmers. Ultimately, the partners hope this project will lay the groundwork for launching a commercially sustainable new water management company called New Water Management Company (NWMC) that can provide asset financing and solar water pumps to smallholder farmers more widely across the region.

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