Nneile Nkholise uses AI to solve challenges in the agriculture sector

Lesotho-born and Thaba ’Nchu-raised Nkholise is a Mechanical Engineering graduate from the Central University of the Free State. She is a mechanical engineering technologist with 8 years of experience in the construction and biomedical sectors having developed biomedical products, ranging from the prosthesis to bio-implants. She was the Managing Director of iMed Tech, a biotech company specializing in custom-made medical solutions using CAD and CAM techniques. In 2018, she founded 3DIMO.

In 2016, she was recognized as Africa’s top female innovator in Africa by the World Economic Forum. She was awarded the South African Youth of the Year by the Office of the Presidency in 2017. In 2018, she was awarded Forbes Africa magazine’s 30 under 30, recognized in the 100 top young Africans by the Africa Youth Council and awarded Industrialist of the Year in Southern Africa at the All Africa Business Leaders Awards.


Founded in August 2018, 3DIMO originally focused on creating sports building hardware and software that could detect injury early and monitor an athlete’s performance. The CEO of 3DIMO, Nneile Nkholise, explained that as the company grew they saw an opportunity to become a large part of the solution to the challenges in the agriculture sector and decided to move their focus into this sector.

3DIMO is pioneering the use of novel connected technology and data-driven approaches to enable the early detection of health risks among farm livestock. The company’s vision is to empower farmers globally with data insights that will help them in monitoring livestock health and welfare. 3DIMO provides tech through the provision of globally traceable animal biometric identity and the use of infra-red precision livestock imagery to provide actionable insights and connect farmers with their livestock and give them convenient livestock management tools.

3DIMO’s product, Thola, provides a globally accessible animal biometric identification, linking an animal to a farmer. Thola is a system that uses animal nose prints to create a biometric identity for each animal. Thola is then used to detect any health risks in livestock in real-time by leveraging infrared imagery and artificial intelligence. By detecting anomalies in livestock within a farm and nearby regions this system is able to alert local farmers should there be a breakout of disease. In-app notifications help farmers to prevent losses by seeking timely treatment or vaccination for their herd.

Coincidentally, this functionality also solves another critical issue that farmers face – livestock theft. In South Africa, farmers have seen a spike in animal theft, losing $60 million worth of livestock in the last two years. Cattle rustling has also increased in scale and violence in other parts of Africa such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Cameroon. By providing an identification system that links animals to their farmers, 3DIMO is creating more transparency when it comes to animal ownership. This is especially useful in jurisdictions where it has been historically difficult to resolve animal theft disputes.

Check her out on Twitter: @nneile

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