Bridging the Gap in Dissemination of Information in the Dairy Industry through Technology
“Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are already bringing new vibrancy and potential to agricultural practices around the world. Young people are more ready and eager to master these new technologies and apply them to agriculture to increase productivity and solve challenges.” (Digital Development for Feed the Future - USAID, 2019).
As livestock value chains develop and farmers venture into advanced ways of research, production, and revenue generation, there are existing information gaps in the livestock value chain that limit the attainment of the full potential of dairy production systems. Such gaps include ineffective and inefficient record-keeping, inefficient information dissemination channels across industry players, and insufficient to aid in decision-making.
This realization has led the African Dairy Academy (ADA) consultants at CoELIB to develop application-based solutions that will bridge these gaps among all players in the dairy industry.
Consultants, researchers, and experts from the African Dairy Academy and CoELIB Developers have come together to develop M-FUGO. This is an informational-based application that seeks to furnish farmers with educative information on dairy production. The interactive application that comes in both Swahili and English shall equip farmers with information on sustainable dairy practices in form of podcasts, videos, and articles. This research-founded information is provided by established researchers, experts, producers, and organizations that have longstanding experience in the improvement of value chains in the dairy industry.
As the farmers seek knowledge to continue developing their practice, they require resources like funding to expand their scopes. Cognizant of this need, ADA is also developing a real-time decision-making tool for financers within the dairy sector to know which farmer is best suited for financial facilitation. Afri-Dairy is a record keeping and service acquisition application for farmers. Through the platform, farmers access consultancy from ADA, record data on animal and farm progress which is then used to assess their creditworthiness for loans. Both applications shall be available for both Android and iOS users.
- Inclusivity: The applications and all their simplified information (including podcasts) come in both Swahili and English, therefore, accommodating all types of farmers.
- Credibility: The interactive platforms pools researchers, consultants, and industry leaders in dairy to provide credible information for consumption by farmers.
- Convenience: The platforms both have offline-mode capabilities allowing farmers with no internet coverage to have access to the features of the platform.
- Integration: Aspects and M-FUGO and AFRI-DAIRY can be integrated for use by farmers basing on their needs at a specific time.
- Specification: The platforms are customer-facing in that the farmers shall have access to the information specific to their interests while providing stakeholders unique information about unique customer segments.
- Convenience: Projections indicate application usage by 1.8 million farmers. This is a large pool of data that shall be used by stakeholders for decision-making purposes.
When asked about his view of the future in line with availability and quality dissemination of information on dairy value-chains and dairy production systems, Solomon Rabin - Consultant (ADA) had this to say: “In the information communication and technology era, knowledge dissemination and utilization will play a big role in closing the knowledge gap in the dairy industry and at the same time playing a crucial role in the advancement of dairy production”.