New mobile applications set to transform farming in Rwanda

A collection of applications designed to provide Rwandan farmers with timely information on climate change, crops, livestock and diseases affecting them for informed decision making have been tested for effectiveness.

One of the applications will provide data on state of weather, amount of rain and soil humidity, and livestock performance to ensure better farm management and productivity, as well as market information on produce.

The apps are intended to reduce the effects of climate change, and diseases on crops, so that farmers get yield in a sustainable manner, according to developers.

They were tested on Tuesday in Rulindo District, Northern Province. The testing intended to ensure that farmers give their input about the technology based on on-field farming practices or challenges they face in the farming process and how they can better get addressed.

The technology is under “Agricultural Services and Digital Inclusion in Rwanda,” a project that has four mobile applications, including ‘Cure and feed your livestock,’ ‘eNtrifood,’ ‘Weather and crop calendar,’ and ‘AgriMarketplace.’ 

It is an initiative developed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI), and the Ministry of ICT.

“Access to relevant and timely weather or climate change information can help farmers make informed decisions on farming practices, which can protect us from losses,” Jacqueline Uwimana, a farmer in Ngoma Sector, Rulindo District said.

Uwimana said lack of information and access to markets has been costing farmers a lot as they fall victim of low prices, explaining to The New Times that the price at which farmers sell broccoli vegetable ranges from Rw250 to Rwf1,000 depending on production and supply. 

The National ICT for Agriculture Strategy, running from 2016 to 2020, targets to register two million farmers countrywide from current 300,000 farmers in 2015 in a centralised, accessible, and secure database, and digitise all agriculture related knowledge material and make it available online and mobile telephone.

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