KUZA Doctor - A Farmer's Mobile Toolkit from Farm to Fork REMIX
The Backpack Farm Team continues development of Kenya's 1st mobile tool assisting smallholder farmers to manage their production from 'farm to fork' in either English or Swahili.
KUZA Doctor supports smallholder farmers using the most basic mobile and affordable smart phone technologies with critical knowledge to increase their per acre rates of production and subsequent incomes while learning the value of local biodiversity and conservation farming. Our toolset will soon augment its functionality with a smart phone option. The agriculture content was developed by the Backpack Farm team, a group of experts who actively train and engage with smallholder farmers in Kenya.
Agriculture content has been developed from our existing training materials and a variety of training materials developed by local government agencies, international non profits and existing technical partnerships:
- BASIC USSD / SMS CONTENT: Support 20 crops with 3-4 layers of interactive content. FARMING 101: 7 Categories on Conservation farming (seed, soil, harvesting and more) with a large focus on water management including seven (7) different models for rainwater harvesting and drip irrigation.
- CROP MANAGMENT: Specific content for more than 32 different crops from primary production to harvest including checklists.
- PESTS & DISEASES: Complete library of pics of most common pest and diseases.
- THE EXTRAS: Aquaculture 101, Indigenous Chickens & Apiculture – Indigenous Honey & Processing
- CROP CALENDAR: Once a crop is selected, a farmer is promoted with tips and reminders about best practices from planting to harvest to market.
- SME BUSINESS TUTORIALS: 10 unique courses designed for smallholder farmers to transform their current production into profitable business models.
- WHITE BOARD: Helping farmers connect to each other as well as to new markets (wholesale buyers).
- AG VIDEOS: A NEW partnership will incoproate existing videos into our sms content so users with a basic smart phone can stream low and high resolution training films.
- AG TUBE - NEW parntership will allow youth to record themselves and post their videos for others to learn from, connect to or just share a farming success.
COST: We have actively developing 4 price models:
- USSD / SMS Content only - 100 KES per month for unlimited content ($1.25 or less depending on final exchange rate).
- SIM Only - preloaded content and bandwidth package for 500 KES ($6.00) and includes all content updates.
- Single Smart Phone - Android phone, SIM card, bandwidth and content for 8,00 less than $100 USD per ANNUM.
- Collective Farmer Groups of 25+ receive a 20% discount on the purchase of their phone, content and bandwidth package.
FINANCE: The Backpack Farm has already secured an partnership with Equity Bank, the largest bank in Kenya. The 'KUZA Doctor' tool will be added to our approved products so farmers can finance the purchase of a new phone along with drip irrigation or other farming inputs.
- Technical: We have recently secured a variety of commercial partnerhips with internaitonal and Government of Kenya agencies providing their technical assistance to guarantee the validity of our data.
- Distribution: National Mobile Carrier
LAUNCH: The BETA version will launch to a trial audience of 1,000 farmers in August -
September 2012. A nationwide launch will begin in late September 2012.
IMPACT & REPORTING: By February / March 2013 we will be able to report on the following data:
- Initial Uptake / Registration w detailed analytics from registration data including women, youth, crop demand, regional analysis
- Impact on production and earned income (harvest in Jan - Feb 2013)
- Regional demand
- 2013 product updates & regional expansion / roll out.
BUDGET: To build a tool like this, we are engaging several techncial consulants. To maximize on our budget, we are parntering with Bityard Consult in Nairobi, Kenya who is coding the back end. The $10,000 budget will help finish development of the following.
- UX Design: what does it look like graphically
- UI Design: How does a user navigate the information in our tool.
- Content Adaptation: With so much training material to offer, we need to streamline the way infromation is consumed
- Translation from English into both formal Swahili and Luganda (Uganda's national language).
- Focus Groups: We go out to one of our rural training farms and test the content with real farmers.
MARKET: In Kenya, there are more than 27 million smallholder farmers, 21 million of which earn their primary income from farming. Knowledge and training in modern, sustainable farming techniques is the missing link to transforming the lives of smallholder farmers not only in Kenya but across the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa. Presently, access to information and training is limited by geography and investment capital. Yes, youth in Kenya is officially under the age of 35 so our tool is supporting a transition market.
Technical extension and advisory services can be one form of helping smallholder farmers to improve the quality and quantity of food production. Traditional extension services cannot reach the bulk of East Africa’s farmers without unrealistic levels of capital investment and underestimate the ability of smallholder farmers to adapt to new approaches in educational programs.
Mobile technologies are widely recognized as a transformative agent of development for rural agriculture. They offer a particularly powerful opportunity for women, helping them access vital knowledge and participate more effectively in supply-chains, who are responsible for more than 80% of Kenya and the EAC’s regional food production. More important is the opportunity to address male youth, continuing to migrate to urban centers with few opportunities for education or employment.
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- Embed video from services like YouTube, Vimeo & Flickr