Kenya’s iShamba, an award winning mobile subscription agriculture service has been selected to pitch at the WTO Public Forum, Geneva on 29th September 2016, in line with the focus of this year’s forum, “Inclusive Trade”.
iShamba is a phone based farmers club that provides agricultural information on weather, market price and farm inputs.
According to David Campbell, the brains behind the concept, “We must get inclusive, focusing on reaching out to all and interact with far more people (especially young and women farmers ). The only way forward for this is through using and linking media – radio, TV , mobile services, social media, video on demand, call centres, and the internet.”
TradeMark East Africa through its Challenge Fund TRAC funded the development of the platform through a matching grant of US$ 347,060. iShamba initially targeted 20000 subscribed farmers, but has 350,000 subscribers today. Recent research that tracked iShamba subscribers against non-subscribers shows that over a six month period iShamba farmers had potato yields 50 percent greater than non-iShamba farmers; that iShamba farmers are more likely to grow a new crop than non-iShamba farmers; and that 65 percent of iShamba farmers change a farming practice as a result of a message received, with 80 percent of those increasing their output as a result.
iShamba has won two awards at the Mobile Innovation Awards which include Effective Integration of Mobile in an Omni Channel Strategy& Regional Award (Africa).