05 May 2009

African farmers get geospatial info on their phones

[NAIROBI] A pilot project that uses mobile phones to alert farmers in remote regions to where they can buy drought-tolerant beans has been launched in Kenya — just one of a set of pilot projects using mobile and geospatial technologies to improve communication of important information to farmers across Africa.

In the first step of the system researchers confirm where dealers are stocking drought-tolerant beans, mapping their locations. Scientists then use mobile phone services to send the information to government extension workers who have second-generation mobile phones, common in Africa. They can then relay the information to farmers in person or via their phones.

Another project in Kenya uses mobile phones to provide farmers and government workers with information about the soil. Also, other project improves market access for smallholders by providing the daily price for commodities at a variety of nearby markets as well as options for buying farm equipment or obtaining agriculture-related funding.

Read the full article.

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