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:
- Receive weekly weather forecast.
- Receive weekly market prices for crops in markets across Kenya.
- Receive weekly “Agri-tips” for crops / livestock based on farmers preference and in tune with the crop calendar for their location in Kenya
- 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.
- 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.
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.