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BY SMART HARVEST

Best farming apps in Kenya: The surge in smartphone ownership is riding on the back of the over 90 per cent mobile penetration in the country, according to data from the Communications Authority of Kenya.

Agriculture, along with health and transport, are among the economic sectors that have attracted the development of a large number of apps. But what arebrhe best farming apps in Kenya?

Well, agriculture has increasingly attracted the attention of young tech-savvy people due to the sector’s profitability, hence the development of applications that make farming easier.

Here are some of the best farming apps in Kenya.

iCow

Developed a few years ago, this voice-based WAP-enabled application allows farmers to get vital information on animal breeding and feeding methods.

Farmers register their cows free of charge through the iCow portal and get regular SMSs on breeding and production patterns.

“We found out that most dairy farmers do not get the most out of their livestock because they depend on rudimentary livestock management methods,” said Sue Kahumbu, the creative director, Green Dreams, the company behind the application.

iCow’s objective is to increase farmer productivity through access to knowledge and experts and to encourage the development of a younger generation of farmers.

M-Shamba

M-Shamba is an interactive platform accessible in smart and low-end phones. A regular SMS provides the subscriber with information on production, harvesting, marketing, credit, weather and climate.

The information is customised based on location, allowing farmers to know what to grow within the season in their region. Farmers can also share information on various platforms.

The creator of M-Shamba, Mr Calvince Okello says: “This unique technology gives farmers information.

The info is stored in a chip in the phone memory and enables the farmer to obtain the latest information on various aspects of farming.” Mr Okello was a student when he developed the application. Subscribers pay a monthly fee for the service.

MbeguChoice

With the challenges of climate change, app developers are also creating solutions to help farmers adapt to the effects of changing weather patterns.

MbeguChoice, seed choice in Swahili, is a free app developed jointly by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation, the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service, seed companies and Agri Experience, with support from the Kenya Markets Trust.

If a farmer searches for drought-resistant crop varieties to plant during the rainy season, the app will show the best five kinds of seeds, depending on the area and the altitude. The database that powers the app has information on more than 200 crop varieties.

The developers intend to expand the app to keep farmers updated about market information on crop and fertiliser prices as well.

M-Farm

M-Farm Ltd is a software solution and agribusiness company.

The investors say M-Farm is a transparency tool for Kenyan farmers where they simply SMS the number 20255 (Safaricom Users) to get information pertaining to the retail price of their products, buy their farm inputs directly from manufacturers at favourable prices, and find buyers for their produce.
M-Farm, works as a transparency tool for farmers.

M-Farm was launched after winning the IPO48 competition — a 48 hour boot-camp event aimed at giving web/mobile start-ups a platform to launch their start-ups.

Vet Africa

The VetAfrica app, which is a developed by Cojengo, enables vets, animal health workers and rural farmers to quickly and accurately diagnose livestock illness and identify which drugs are most effective.

The app offers a support system not just for livestock farmers but veterinary experts and animal health professionals.

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