With remote-control-sized transmitters around a cow’s necks, an artificial-intelligence system named Ida is being used to send helpful alerts: when his cows are chewing the cud, when they’re feeling sick, when they’re ready for insemination.
Sophisticated AI technologies are helping reinvent how Americans work, offering powerful software that can read and react to mountains of data and save them time and stress along the way.
The future of agriculture is digital and with the proliferation of tech solutions, Africa can catch up with the industrial scale digital industrial revolution and even leapfrog the West.
While it is expensive for smallholder farmers to own drones that will spray their small farms, map their crop needs or collar their cows with Ida, African farmers can aggregate, come together and use a platform like Digifarm to pool their data and apply tech in an inexpensive way.
Kenyan farmers can take advantage of mobile phone penetration and innovative solutions being offered by Safaricom as the digital company seeks to deliver a mix of entertainment, product education, customer services, free medical camps and community projects across the country through the recently launched Twaweza Live experience.
Through its Digifarm app, a farmer can borrow inputs at a discounted price, get advice on the right use of the inputs and pool their data to aggregate for elaborate technological intervention. Farmers will be able to purchase these inputs via M-PESA or credit payable between 30, 60 or 90 days depending on the credit package a farmer gets.
The Safaricom platform piloted in Burnt forest will improve financing and help generate information on crops and animals allowing not only the farmers to intervene but also the government and counties to make targeted interventions and offer incentives that actually reach real farming communities.
The depot will also act as a source of vital data for the county government, which will be able to use this information for planning and resource allocation as well as enabling agricultural extension officers to reach more farmers.
According to Victor Ngumo, Head of Rift Region – Safaricom, the platform also helps on the collection of agricultural data by registering farmers and allowing them to key in information such as the size of their farms and nature of farming activities while giving farmers access to agronomists who will advise them on issues such as soil productivity and quality of seeds to help them improve their yields.
Since its launch in October 2017 Digifarm has registered over 672,000 farmers and disbursed over 7,000 loans through a mobile phone loan module that gives farmers access to financing for the purchase of farming inputs.