This article is originally from Partners for Water

Ghana, like many other Sub-Saharan African countries, is experiencing extreme drought and irregular weather patterns. These climate change challenges are expected to increase and require adaptation and mitigation measures. To adapt, farmers need localised, climate smart irrigation advice. TU Delft, FutureWater, Holland Greentech and TAHMO are making this vital information accessible to local smallholders. TAHMO’s CEO and TU Delft lecturer, Frank Annor, reveals the underlying technique and processes behind their inclusive solution.

From his office at TU Delft, Frank discusses the innovative technology behind SOSIA+. As a Civil Engineer at TU Delft, he knows exactly how to implement the ideas of this elaborate service. But first, he explains the role of the other organization he works for: “TAHMO aims to develop a dense network of weather stations across Africa to enable precise weather monitoring and forecasting, and to facilitate openly accessible data. Our role in the SOSIA+ project is to provide the technology for the weather stations and moisture sensors, and to monitor and deliver real-time weather and climate data.”

SOSIA+ technology

“Small-scale farmers receive localised irrigation advice on required water volumes and duration of irrigation from us to enhance water security and improve crop production,” Frank explains. “We’ve combined TAHMO’s data-collection technology with an algorithm created by FutureWater. Additionally, we offer training on the use of this system through the TU Delft partnership with Ghanaian universities and knowledge institutes and the Holland Greentech Ghana team.”

The irrigation advice is communicated through various channels, including an app, text messages, WhatsApp and in person. Frank explains: “Effective communication channels are crucial because we rely on farmers to collect and share data from their farms. This allows us to validate our advice and tailor it to the unique conditions of each farm. That’s why we created a modular communication system. The channels we use and the information we provide are based on the farmer’s preference and skills.”

An accessible service

“This technology stands out because it provides highly localised information that is directly applicable to the farmer’s field,” Frank explains. “Typically, such advanced technology is only accessible to large-scale farmers. However, we’ve developed a concept that allows multiple individual smallholder farmers to purchase the service collectively. Moreover, we’ve employed cost-effective, low-maintenance technology and a modular system that can be scaled to suit the farm’s size and the farmer’s level of expertise.”


“One of the key success factors of SOSIA+ is that we’ve developed the service and technology in collaboration with the farmers via an iterative process,” Frank reflects. “Our starting point was to discuss their needs and demonstrate how the system’s features could meet those needs. Then we created a mock-up, returned to the farmers for feedback, adjusted accordingly, and repeated the process. This approach significantly improved the usability and adoption of the service. It truly has been an invaluable lesson for developing solutions that genuinely meet the users’ needs.”


Both Holland Greentech and TAHMO have teams operating in over 20 African countries. Frank explains, enthusiastically: “We already have the necessary connections in various areas, and the system’s modular design is great for scalability. The modularity ensures the technology is easily adaptable to meet the needs of new users in different locations.” He continues: “Challenges exist, such as establishing a viable business model. However, the funding from Partners for Water allows us to test our business model and value proposition in the pilot project and to develop a sound strategy on how to sustain the service moving forward.”

Innovation in progress series
The Partners for Water 5 programme (2022 – 2027) follows several projects that received the Partners for Water subsidy from start to finish. Over the next few years, these projects will take you on their journey of testing the feasibility or application of innovative solutions to enhance water safety and water security abroad. You’ll be able to gain insights into their processes, collaborations with local partners and their potential solutions; as well as their struggles, challenges and their lessons learned. Stay tuned via the Partners for Water LinkedIn page!