Access to agricultural advice made more accessible by technology

Most of the small scale farmers in Africa suffer from the lack of the right knowledge on the best farming practices. Spoilage of the harvests due to poor storage methods have led to the enormous loss. Technological inventions are making farm operations hence facilitating maximization of profits.

The number of people with mobile phones are increasing every day in Africa and globally. Gone are the days when for you to get crucial information that you need you have to either read from the dailies, listen to the radio or watch televisions. Now phones are in every corner, selling of airtime is distributed everywhere creating more employment opportunities to many people.

Innovations that are adopted by many individuals and organizations like Self Help Africa has been of great help to the Malawians small-scale farmers on eradicating poor farming activities. Currently, around 800,000 small-scale farmers in Malawi can receive farming advice they want by only dialing 132. The 132 platform launched in 2014 is free of charge.

The tech idea was implemented by Self Help Africa in collaboration with Humanitarian Network International (HNI) and Airtel Malawi which is the countries mobile network producer. The platform has reduced the strain in getting information to many small-scale farmers in Malawi like William. Wiliam who resides 29 km away from the nearest town used to walk to get advice from the states farm extension, but since the launch of the platform, William receives information at his doorstep whenever he needs it. With his small land located in Taize, Village William has been able to get a lot of the maize and groundnuts he grows there. He used to operate from hand to mouth slogan where whatever he got from the farm was only to sustain him and his family for a short period, but now he produces a surplus.

A large population in Malawi lives in the rural with most of them relying on subsistence farming for a living. In most areas accessing agriculture is hard. Those who reside in the rural have limited access to methods of improving farming practices and obtaining more yields. 132 platform tends to close that gap of information. The tech is in a position to provide information on farming stating from planting to post-harvesting time through videos calls, voice calls and messages to 15 crops and vegetations.

In collaboration with Agricultural commodity Exchange in Malawi, Self Help Africa has been able to provide up to date information including the current market prices. The platform is trying to bring women on board by encouraging more women to access the phones since statics shows that some household’s men are the ones who own phones.

The use of mobile phone, therefore, has gone to higher heights apart from only communication with friends or relative. Africa is on the rise if in any case there will be more technology innovations.

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