Farmers in Kenya have all the support in farming they need, one of the people who have the farmers interests at heart include iCow, it is an SMS based mobile application aimed at promoting smart animal husbandry. This App has received recognition from IT News Africa and has been rated as Africa’s best mobile agricultural application by IT News Africa during the just concluded ICT4Ag conference in Rwanda.
All the farmer has to do to subscribe to this service is dialing the short code, *285#, and animal farmers can access expert information for Kshs.3 per message. So far 12,000 farmers have subscribed to the service, 55 percent of whom are youth between 18 and 35 years of age.
iCow has three main features namely Kalenda, Mashauri and Vet and artificial insemination. Kalenda enables farmers to keep track of their animals during the gestation period while Mashauri is a service that sends farmers three SMS tips a week on best agricultural practices. The Vet and Artificial Insemination service links farmers with veterinarians.
“We are very excited that IT News Africa has recognised iCow as a leading social innovation this early into its life. We are continuously expanding our offering to farmers and just recently, we introduced information on rearing indigenous chickens on the Mashauri feature,” said Su Kahumbu, iCow’s founder.
Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore highlighted the importance of social innovations. He noted that, “The mobile phone explosion being witnessed in Sub Saharan Africa has positioned the device as an important tool in addressing social needs. In line with our vision of Transforming Lives, we have a team dedicated to the introduction of mobile apps such as iCow, which provide solutions to social issues.”
Another Kenyan app on Africa’s top ten mobile agricultural apps is M-Shamba, an interactive platform that is being used by about 4000 rice farmers to help them adopt new technologies in rice farming.