More than 60% population of Sub-Saharan Africa consists of small farmers. However a lot of it is still untapped growth and there exists a potential to produce 2.5–3x more grains annually. Localized weather, pests and agri insights which are key in preventing crop failures and achieving higher production require crowd sourced data and last mile access to digitisation efforts. Crowd sourced data is the way forward for hyperlocal weather, pest and agri-insights but access to broadband internet is limited only to urban Africa and even then it is often prohibitively pricey. Consequently all citizen science efforts fail to gain traction in the absence of robust mobile communication infrastructure.
To solve this problem and as a part of the Unite Ideas OpenCI Platform Challenge 2019, we built Wikilimo — a platform to provide farmers with actionable agri insights, P2P chat, business and planning services. The Wikilimo app is small to install and easy & intuitive to use. Do everything from submitting pest reports to checking government schemes and undertaking business with neighbouring farmer while planning your crops, all within the same app. You sign up with your contact number & name and gain full access to reporting and receiving insights, messaging and business, without having to worry about internet connectivity. It’s finally time to ditch high data costs and get all benefits of Wikilimo over SMS, USSD or Voice.
Some key features of the Wikilimo app:
- Actionable Insights for crop protection
- An SMS/USSD based Interface
- Support for Voice & Local Languages
- Community sourced Citizen Science Data
- Weather predictions & schemes sourced from reliable government channels
How does our entire technology pipeline work?
- We build our citizen science platform using Typeform
- The Crowd Sourced data is thenanalysed on Firebase through ML Kit
- We push actionable notifications through OpenWeatherMap and AfricasTalking
- Using FarmChat & M-Pesa, we build the messaging & business service
- The app is minimal in UI and works with WhatsApp chat or using USSD
- There is planned support for full voice interface in local languages
We progress through developing strategic partnerships with —
- National Meteorological & Agricultural Organizations
- Rural & Agricultural Banks
- Weather & Insurance Services
- UNDP CIRDA & FAO
Find more details about Wikilimo at www.wikilimo.co and check out our submission for the OpenCI Platform Challenge here. The Wikilimo github repo hosts all the application source code, licensed under CC-BY 4.0