The application uses science and tradition to stimulate drought African farmers

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To help farmers prepare for the impacts of climate change, Kenya computer scientist Muthoni Masinde created the mobile platform ITIKI. Its name stands for Information Technology and Local Information, and the platform sends drought predictions to farmers via an app or SMS message.

Although meteorological data are used, Masinde says that most African farmers can better relate to the traditional information used to formulate the platform’s predictions.

“I grow up [Kenyan] The village and I realized that most farmers do not have any science to tell [them] When it will be planted, “Masinde told CNN Business.” They watch the bugs, watch the animals’ behavior, and then decide, “I think it will rain in two weeks.”

ITIKI employs young people in agricultural communities to collect photos and updates on local vegetation, such as animal behavior and which trees bloom. They capture their findings in the ITIKI application, and ITIKI collects this information to model weather models from months ago with data from local weather stations.

Farmers serve only one a few cents, it receives regular updates in their local language and helps them make early decisions about which crops to grow and sell or register their crops.

Economic impact of drought

Many African countries are particularly vulnerable to climate change and small-scale farmers who rely on precipitation especially for their harvest may face poverty and food insecurity. UN climate experts.
This may have major economic implications. Agriculture contributes Approximately 15% of Africa’s total GDP, 2017 UN reportand make up about half of the continent’s employment. African Development Bank.
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Masinde, now a professor at the Free State Central University of Technology in South Africa, launched the practice of agriculture in Kenya in 2016. About a third of GDP.

“Investments in climate adaptation solutions, especially targeting small-scale farmers, will lead to GDP growth. [in Africa]said Masinde.

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He added that African governments tend to react to drought and extreme weather rather than proactively planning these events. “We are not preparing [drought]”Said.” It is as if we wake up and discover that people in the rural area of ​​Kenya are starving, people on one side of the country are not raining. ”

Masinde said that ITIKI is used by more than 15,000 farmers in Kenya, Mozambique and South Africa. Crop yields have increased by an average of 11% since farmers started using the app, according to Masinde.

ITIKI received $ 750,000 from the US and South African governments, which will be used to expand operations. At the end of this year, Masinde hopes to sign more than 100,000 farmers on the platform.

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About the Author: Abbott Hopkins

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