Mobile Phones Boost Agriculture in Kenya
iCow is an Agricultural Information Service with a variety of products available as a subscription service to help farmers enhance productivity. It is a mobile app billed as “the world’s first mobile phone cow calendar.” Its SMS and voice service allows dairy farmers to track their cows gestation, acting in effect as a veterinary midwife. Farmers are also given tips on breeding and nutrition.
The dairy industry in Kenya is a Kshs 40billion industry supported largely by a network of 1.6m farmers. Smallholder farmers are estimated to sell an average of 3 to 5 litres per day; calculations show that 15 litres per day is the required production to bring a family over the poverty line. Most farmers are small scale and use rudimentary methods to manage their cows’ estrus cycle and milk production.
iCow will track each cow individually and allow the farmers to maintain all relevant information specific to each cow. It will be accessed by farmers all through their mobile phones or the internet.
The application, which took first place in the recently conducted Apps4Africa competition, has been described as an innovation that will revolutionize our interaction with small-scale farmers.
Get more information on iCow at icow.co.ke/