FarmIT is an ICT enabled solution that uses crop mapping mobile technology to send real time and reliable agronomic tips to small scale farmers via SMS to improve their crop yields by 50%. Later during harvesting stage, the system is designed to automatically send notifications to large scale consumers in the same platform informing them of farmers impending harvest. This enhances market access and improves farmer’s livelihood.
What’s the Problem?
It’s awful that small scale farmers, especially youth and women in Kenya who are venturing in agribusiness, invest lots of resources in the purchase of inputs but end up with poor agricultural yields. One of the main reasons for their poor production is lack of crop protection and poor husbandry practices.
Farmers living in the rural areas are exposed to scanty information. Reliance on local agro vets is very high. However, the agro vet attendants are unqualified and often give incorrect information. The government has employed a few extension officers, however their visits to the farms are not enough due to poor infrastructure.
The result is poor agricultural output and of low quality yields exposing youth and women farmers to exploitation by middlemen and loss.
Our team comprises 5 agronomists and 10 star farmers who identify and map key crop life stages that require agronomic intervention. We then set up a database of crop protection and good husbandry practices for these stages. This data is programmed in our crop mobile platform designed to automatically push information at the right crop stage. Farmers have to register the crop type and planting date/week which triggers a message sent to them via SMS with agronomic tips depending on the crop stage.
The system has been integrated with the open data portal from two agricultural research institution and one weather station helping real time and updated crop protection and good husbandry information being sent to our farmers.
At the harvesting stage the system automatically sends notification via sms to large scale consumers registered in the platform informing them of the impending harvest hence they are able to contact the farmer and agree on a sale.
What’s the value?
Farmers are able to use reliable information at the right time of their crop stage improving their yields by 50%. The link to large scale consumers enhances market access and drives up profit margins, improving farmers welfare.
The system sends information via SMS, a simple ICT tool which has a wider geographical coverage in the rural areas compared to any other ICT tools. It is also farmer friendly since farmers can afford basic mobile phones which allow SMS.
Farmers are our direct beneficiaries and large scale consumers are our indirect beneficiaries.
Our sustainability model: we charge a monthly subscription fee of $ 0.5 for the farmers and $ 2.00 for the large consumers registered in our platform
Currently we have 600 active farmers and 200 large scale consumers. We have set up a website (www.farmit.co.ke) , twitter @farmit6 and Facebook account as our part of our marketing strategy. We are targeting 5000 farmers and 1000 large scale consumers over the next 12 months. Improved yields from farmers targeted will ensure food security in the country, and create and sustain jobs for the youth and women in agribusiness.
Allan Coredo, Kenya