In a rare case witnessed in Kenya, a farming app has opened its API to invite other developers to build different applications.
Ukulima.net is one of its kind. The application that helps unite farmers together was born in 2011 by Pamoja Media, a digital marketing agency. The application that is accessible through the mobile Web and a desktop interface, has currently 500 users.
“Two things led us down the path that brought about this idea. We had been working on information and communication strategies for a number of agricultural organizations working with small holder farmers,” Joshua Wanyama, the Executive Director at Pamoja Media told Humanipo.
“It became apparent that the time it takes to get a question from a farmer answered by an expert and have that information in the hands of the farmer was around two weeks. We felt there had to be a better way to do this,” he added.
Joshua also had a personal experience that inspired him to come up with this app. “I had also done a dairy project in Western Kenya unsuccessfully and whenever we needed to talk to people with experience or who were experts on solving our day to day problems at the farm, we didn’t have access to them,” Joshua said.
It is at this time that he felt there was a gap in the market in terms of information in the farming sector in Kenya. Joshua and Pamoja Media wanted to expand the small radius between farmers and draw them closer regardless of the distance.
The uniqueness of this project definitely lays in the open API it gives to other developers. In most cases developers in Kenya, only think about developing their own systems.
“We have created an open API to allow other app developers looking to reach farmers on our network. We are also working very hard to improve our group capabilities which we will then use to work directly with farmer groups in Kenya,” Joshua told Humanipo.
This move is definitely going in the right direction and will attract other developers to come up with much more advanced apps in the market. Other farming apps that have made a notable splash in the market include mFarm and FarmPal.