Solution Overview & Team Lead Details

Our Organization


What is the name of your solution?


Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

Providing AI-based early warning systems integrated with pest management and the effect of climate change on crops.

Film your elevator pitch.

What specific problem are you solving?

Rwanda and sub-Saharan Africa suffer from heightened food insecurity and extreme poverty, Due to climate-related issues, uncontrolled pests and poor farming methods, Fall Armyworm is an insect native to tropical plants. Its larval stage feeds on more than 80 plant species, including maize, rice, etc.. Information of its impacts on crop health is largely unavailable, Failure to identify these pests can cause farmers to lose almost half of their crops. In our country, the pest has infested 15,699ha, representing 24.7% of the total area of 63,499 ha planted maize. In Africa, 2.6 USD to 2.8USD Million are lost due to the fall armyworm in Africa (CABI, Sept 2017), which is the biggest challenge in agriculture and food security.

What is your solution?

Fall Armyworm is one of the critical problems for food security in Africa and we have chosen to start on it then later on we scale and take on other pests specifically in coffee, chill, etc...Through plastic recycling, we developed a bucket (trap) that contains artificial pheromone to attract the Insect; by counting the number of insects attracted, we then realized that the pest is being developed in the field.  Then we inform farmers and advise them on prevention methods, however, due to limited resources and using our traditional modal; we reach few farmers, that is why we want to get support from Solve to make a digital tool that is simple and can support a high number of farmers.

IkiviAi is a digital platform that aims to increase efficiency in smart agriculture by using AI and Machine Learning to process the available data from satellites based on environmental conditions (temperature, climate change) and the biological cycle of the insects. Then combine it with field data that our farmers get from recycled baskets. Then we can disseminate the data as APIs and turn it into actionable insight for decision-making.

IkiviAi aims to boost economic development and food security by resolving root causes of food shortages that include pests that destroy the crops, especially the early identification of the fall armyworm in the maize crops.

Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

I was raised in a rural area in the northern Province of Rwanda, more than 70% of population are in the agricultural labor force and 39% of the population in our country lives in extreme poverty (World Bank, 2018) which is the same challenge with some other Sub-Saharan countries.

It's been three years of working and developing a successful initiative of supporting women cooperatives and other smallholder farmers in remote areas, they are facing the biggest challenge of pest management mainly Fall Armyworm which affects 80 plant species, including maize, rice, etc 

In our country, the pest has so far infested 15,699ha, representing 24.7% of the total area of 63,499 ha planted maize, which is the biggest challenge in agriculture., Additionally, on the Environmental challenge, we have a problem with plastic bags and single-use plastics, the more we use them the more we pollute our environment. 

Our innovation will bring a solution to both sides, plastics recycling awareness, and zero hunger by providing affordable and effective pest management tools to the smallholder farmers which helps them in pest management as well as recycling plastics for a better environment.

How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

We’re a young and talented group of entrepreneurs and engineers with a groundbreaking idea designed to contribute towards a better tomorrow.

We started our initiative 2017 as Ikivi Foundation, since young age I was surrounded by community members who are emotionally and psychologically wounded due to the 1994 genocide against Tutsi that left communities in unspeakable trauma and excruciating invisible wounds. Unsurprisingly, women were most likely to fall in this category. 

Our targeted group included women who had survived the Genocide and those who had direct family members especially spouses, who participated in the crimes of Genocide against Tutsi and are serving their prison terms. We successfully visited 157 families then bringing them together for peacebuilding, unit and reconciliation. 60% of those women suffered from mental health issues, and on prescribed medication, we also realized that 34% of them were living in extreme poverty and needed assistance to lift their families out of poverty, we chose to train them about Entrepreneurship to become self-reliant. Now, we have three women cooperatives that are involved in agriculture, and handcraft making, including but not limited to bags and paper packaging.

In 2018, we got the market for the first cooperative we started with by selling handcraft bags on international market. In 2019, we secured our second market for our handcraft cooperative to provide packaging for a chocolate company where a woman could make one box in 15 minutes and a minimum of 40 boxes per day; for one box, she earned 100 Rwf that means 4000 Rwf per day  equal to 4USD.

Everything was smooth with our three agriculture cooperatives until they faced fall armyworms that completely damaged their crops and by then we decided to look for a solution to help them overcome these challenges. We are using plastic recycled trap that attracts insects from the field, and we are in the prototyping phase of a digital tool with support of the National Council of Science and Technology (NCST) where our Innovation awarded among Rwanda Innovation Challenge 2021.

We realized it can be scalable to other farmers in our community and also be exported to the rest of the African continent, where fall armyworm is a problem.

Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Adapt land and coastal areas to more extreme weather, including through climate-smart agriculture or restoring natural ecosystems to mitigate impacts.

In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?


In what country is your solution team headquartered?

  • Rwanda

What is your solution’s stage of development?

Pilot: An organization testing a product, service, or business model with a small number of users

How many people does your solution currently serve?

We are currently working with five women cooperatives of 350 farmers and 1000 smallholder farmers, Our project impacts those women cooperatives and their families mainly by increasing their standard of living; with the support of Solve, our impact will extend to reach our target of 10000 farmers in Q2 of 2024, and we will be able to create 30 direct jobs for women. 

Why are you applying to Solve?

I hope to get a mentor, mentorship presents the chance to learn new aspects of Business/venture creation and become more open-minded. This will empower and help me make better choices in knowing the perfect stakeholders for our Business. This opportunity will also improve our strategy when dealing with our partners. I expect to get help to get feedback and refinement my project to increase impact and find an organization that can help me up-skill myself. Get technical assistance as Solver if I get an opportunity to participate in this program, I hope to help grow the economy of Rwanda by creating employment and by empowering my fellow youth and women so that they start their own ventures. The skills I will get from the program will sharpen my mind to shift from the current milestone to the next milestone, this will be my Golden opportunity to build a strong company that will make an impact in my country and even expand in East Africa in 2 years.

In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Business Model (e.g. product-market fit, strategy & development)
  • Financial (e.g. accounting practices, pitching to investors)
  • Public Relations (e.g. branding/marketing strategy, social and global media)
  • Technology (e.g. software or hardware, web development/design)

Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Justin Murengera

More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

Our Innovation combines AI Models with biological insect behavior to increase the effective approach to detecting Fall Armyworm(FAW); Firstly, on AI Model the trained Machine Learning Model automatically detect FAW in real-time by integrating the life cycle of pest and favorable environmental condition. the accuracy increased based on historical data for the past years on how pest has been behaving and impacting crops compared to the real-time data for our community, secondly, we analyze data into actionable insight and a comprehensive view of the spread of fall armyworm with a decision-making for controlling and mitigating the impact of pest on crops. 

This innovation can change the market and increase a meaningful impact as more than 200 million people depend on Maize crop in Africa, According to the evidence published by the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI, Sept 2017), without good methods to control, FAW can cause maize yield losses of 8.3 to 20.6 M metric tons per year, The amount of these losses are estimated between US$2.48 and US$6.2 billion.

Therefore the food insecurity based on this challenge can be restored and the increase of pesticides can be reduced as it has been impacting negatively other species like bees etc...

What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and how will you achieve them?

IkiviAi Financial Projections 2023

We have started small with limited resources we have the plan to scale in other regions, with the support and mentorship that we can get from Solve Members and the huge network from MIT, we are sure that we can make a big impact on climate change and food security. we have chosen to start on one specific pest, however, we are planning to integrate more pest management systems on various crops. Our country's population currently is 13.2 Million and more than 70% are in the agriculture sector, and most importantly for African which has a population of more than 1.3 Billion people, food security and climate change remain the challenging problems, we believe that IkiviAi can bridge the gap on pest management to ensure smart agriculture and climate change challenge.

Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 1. No Poverty
  • 2. Zero Hunger
  • 9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • 13. Climate Action

How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

we measure our impact by following a SMART approach by empowering farmers on

·         Social Impact

·         Agricultural yields---From 1 ton of maize to 7 tons per hectare

·         Revenue growth, and Profit margin.

·         Customer satisfaction and Client retention rate.

What is your theory of change?

End Poverty 

Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

IkiviAi Pitch deck

AI Model the trained Machine Learning Model automatically detect FAW in real-time by integrating the life cycle of pest and favorable environmental condition. the accuracy increased based on historical data for the past years on how pest has been behaving and impacting crops compared to the real-time data

The software is designed in a way that the biological behavior of pest align with the growth of crops below are the key and the length of each stage:

  1. Egg: The female fall armyworm lays clusters of eggs: The eggs typically hatch within 2-3 days. This is from 7 days after a plant is grown from the soil. at 18 to 20 temperature

  2. Larva: From 7 to 14 days The larvae feed on maize leaves and grow rapidly. The larval stage typically lasts for 7-14 days at 20 temperature

  3. Pupa: From 14 days they spin a cocoon and pupate. The pupal stage typically lasts for 5-7 days, during which time the larvae transform into adults.

  4. Adult: The adult fall is a grayish-brown moth with a wingspan of about 40-50 mm. 

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new technology

How do you know that this technology works?


Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning
  • Big Data
  • Biotechnology / Bioengineering
  • Imaging and Sensor Technology

In which countries do you currently operate?

  • Rwanda

In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • Ghana

Solution Team

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