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Information dissemination to improve farmers’ livelihoods in Kenya.

Hellen Chege's picture
Submitted by Hellen Chege on Wed, 03/02/2016 - 15:22
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iShamba is a SMS and call centre based mobile agriculture product aimed at improving farmer's productivity and profitability across Kenya.It sits alongside Shamba Shape Up, a popular farming TV programme in Kenya.

To join iShamba a farmer sends the word ‘JOIN’ to shortcode 21606. The farmer then receives a call from the call centre and is signed up to the service.

Upon subscription the farmer is in a position to:

  1. Receive weekly weather forecast.
  2. Receive weekly market prices for crops in markets across Kenya.
  3. Receive weekly “Agri-tips” for crops / livestock based on farmers preference and in tune with the crop calendar for their location in Kenya
  4. Access the iShamba call centre of farming experts by sending any farming question by SMS to 21606 at a cost of 5kshs or by calling 0711082606 at normal call rates to speak to an Agronomist / Veterinary officer.
  5. Alongside this, farmers are currently benefiting from ‘special offers’ and ‘discounts’ from key East Africa Community based agri- product suppliers who are keen to work with iShamba to reach new farmers.

Impact

In a country where there is 1 extension officer to every 1000 farmers (more in some areas), having ready access to expert advice is highly valued by iShamba farmers. Alongside this a recent study by Research Guide Africa has shown that iShamba can improve farmer’s productivity.

In a sample across Eastern, Rift Valley and Central Region, iShamba farmers achieved double the potato yield of non-iShamba farmers in the 2014/15 growing season, leading to twice the income from farming.