I was doing some research on mobile applications in agriculture and thought I’d share a few of the interesting apps out there. This has always been an area of interest for me but the real inspiration for this blog post is from the e-debate titled Enhancing Young Women’s engagement in ICT and Agriculture http://ardyis.cta.int/ . Below is a list of some of the apps….
- Access to market prices: Mobile phones allow farmers to gain access to vital information about prices of crops before they travel long distances to markets. Cell phone services employ SMS text messaging to quickly transfer accurate information about wholesale and retail prices of crops, ensuring farmers can negotiate deals with traders and improve their timing of getting crops to the market. SokoniSMS64 is one popular service used in Kenya to provide farmers with accurate market prices from around the country.
- Micro-insurance: Cell phones are also used for a “pay as you plant” type of insurance. Kilimo Salama, meaning “safe agriculture” in Swahili, is a micro-insurance company that protects farmers against poor weather conditions. The insurance is distributed through dealers who utilize camera phone technology to scan and capture policy information through a code using an advanced phone application. The information is then uploaded to Safaricom’s mobile cloud-based server that administers policies. Farmers can then receive information on their policy, as well as payouts based on rainfall, in SMS messages. This is a paperless, completely automated process.
- iCow from M-Farm: This cell phone application calls itself “the world’s first mobile phone cow calendar.” It enables farmers to keep track of each cow’s individual gestation so farmers never miss the valuable opportunity to expand their herd. iCow also keeps track of feed types and schedules, local veterinary contact information, and precise market prices of cattle.
- M-Farm offers real-time market prices for crops, matching Kenyan farmers with buyers. As a transparency tool for Kenyan farmers, the app allows them to simply SMS the number 3535 to get information about the retail price of their products, buy their farm inputs directly from manufacturers at favorable prices, and find buyers for their produce. We’re especially encouraged for howw this allows remote farmers to plug into market updates and as a a result, keep up with the competition. http://mfarm.co.ke/
- Instant weather information: Mobile technology provides farmers with crucial weather data so they can properly manage their crops. Programs such as Tigo Kilimo in Tanzania give small-scale farmers instant weather information combined with appropriate agricultural tips.
- CocoaLink: This app makes use of western Ghana’s rapidly expanding mobile network to deliver important information to cocoa farmers. The World Cocoa Foundation created this program to provide free voice and SMS text messages about farm safety, child labor, health, and improvements in farming practices, crop disease prevention, and crop marketing. Farmers receive messages in English or their local language.
- EcoFarmer: Econet Wireless has developed a weather-indexed drought insurance service enabling smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe to buy insurance for as little as US$0.08 per day. The programme for growers known as EcoFarmer means the insurance farmers purchase will be deducted from their prepaid phone account during the agricultural season, according to Ranga Mberi, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe corporate communications manager.
- Farm Manager. The Farm Manager app allows farmers to record cropping, livestock, and machinery procedures, and access this information with ease. Users can record full history of crops from when they are sown through to harvested; record chemical and fertilizer use, including type, rate, and date applied; and keep track of machinery maintenance. (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)
- FarmPAD. This app from TapLogic allows users to enter farm records, equipment service logs, spray records and take notes or pictures. You can also draw field boundaries with GPS or by hand. Sync to your Web account where you can print reports, review history and draw and print field maps. (Android, iPhone, iPad)
Pretty neat stuff right. Thanks for stopping by! :-)http://foodtank.com/news/2013/04/five-ways-cell-phones-are-changing-agriculture-in-africahttp://www.africanfarming.net/crops/agriculture/econet-launches-eco-farmer-for-zimbabwe-s-smallholder-farmershttp://ardyis.cta.int/