iCow is providing vital information to cow farmers via SMS, as well as prompts when action is needed.
Smartphones may be commonplace among urban businesses, but rural farmers – especially those in poorer countries – may not have easy access to the devices. We’ve already seen India-based Nano Ganesh offer remote water pump control through basic cell phone technology, and now iCow is providing vital information to cow farmers via SMS. Developed by Kenyan farmer Su Kahumbu, subscribers to the service receive updates which help them keep track of their cows’ gestation periods and estrus cycle, keeps them up-to-date with the market rate for milk, and collects the breeding and production data for individual animals. Information on how to most effectively maintain the health of cows is also offered. For farmers needing veterinary support, the service can be contacted by texting codes such as ‘vet#county#location#’. Users will then receive the details of a nearby business that can help them. Registration can be completed by texting ‘iCow’ to 5024, while each text message costs KES 10. iCow won the Vision 2030 ICT Innovation Award for Agriculture this year and most recently won a grant from the Indigo Trust to continue development of the project. Considering that many smallscale farmers currently use rudimentary methods for measuring important aspects of their businesses, iCow could help them to increase their efficiency and subsequently their revenue. How else could farmers make the most of ubiquitous technology? Spotted by: Murray Orange