Three farming apps you need to know about

The Wireless Wednesday hosted by the MLab in Kenya’s capital Nairobi seeks to expose emerging startups with mobile solutions for the economy. The past event was held on August 29 and the theme revolved around past harvest mobile apps.

There were various presentations from developers to invited farmers at the event. The farmers had a chance to ask questions on the various apps represented.

The developers also had a unique opportunity to learn from the farmers on if they understand or have issues with their apps. Here are three web based and mobile applications that farmers need to engage themselves with.

Pamoja Media has developed this Web interface for farmers. Ukulima.net offers a space where farmers can interact on similar crop interest. According to Pamoja Media’s executive director Joshua Wanyama, they have opened their API for users and other developers to build applications upon their platform.

Developers can come up with various apps and take advantage of the data that the company has in its platform. The service is accessible via mobile web and will be an interesting player in the market in the few months to come.

SokoShambani is an SMS platform where farmers can get information about what is happening with prices and demand for farm produce.

MFarmer Kenya, an organization that deploys technology to improve farming, developed and currently maintains this product. Farmers can get into this service through the short code 8988.

At the Wireless Wednesday, Stephen Kirimi spoke passionately about their research on farm produce especially potatoes. The research derived from talking to the farmers on the ground refined the application to be more useful to the farmers.

This is also a product from MFarmer Kenya. ArifuMkulima stands for Farmer Alerts in English. ArifuMkulima is a small-scale farmers’ knowledge management system that informs smallholder farmers on risks facing their crops by availing them with information on crop and animal diseases and pests, weather patterns.

The app is important to the farmers as it provides another alternative from traditional sources of information for farming. The weather patterns alerts help farmers to compare the information from the metrological department and to make informed decision on what crops to plant and the seasons to plough.

These alerts are greatly supported by research information from various organizations including The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Great Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF), National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA), Japanese Climate Center, Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNET), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Food Program (WFP).

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