SmartFarming in the time of COVID-19

May 12, 2020

During the global pandemic, the SmartFarming team continues to provide farmers in India and Mozambique with practical and tailor made advice via our smartphone application and SMS services.

Following the Corona virus outbreak, closed borders and cancelled food shipments pose a major threat to food security: essential imports are drying up. As a result, governments and donors around the world have urged agricultural extension projects to increase their efforts to maximize the production of food crops. Meanwhile, extension teams are no longer allowed to organise large gatherings or visit farmers in the field for training. This global crisis highlights the importance of innovation. We can continue to support large numbers of farmers in a short period of time using digital SmartFarming tools like apps and SMS services.

We are introducing digital tools in the APSAN-Vale project focused on water productivity and food security in Mozambique. COVID-19 has limited the number of field visits and the project team was forced to quickly adapt finding ways to continue its training activities. SmartFarming is currently testing a combined approach of an SMS platform called IRIPO and web-app to support farmers by giving them access to expert information through their mobile phones.

The IRIPO SMS platform provides short and practical advice. The web-app developed by SmartFarming enables the sharing of more in-depth visual information using videos and images. Both tools will be updated on a regular basis to keep on tailoring them to the needs of farmers. In this way, we make sure farmers can easily find the information they need and get it at the right moment. The initial response of farmers has been very positive and we are currently trying to expand our coverage together with Resiliencia Mozambique (Resilience BV).

 
Web-app to support farmers

Nonetheless, COVID-19 is influencing our day-to-day operations and pushes us to innovate further. We recently launched a new app called My Crop Care, which facilitates coffee farmers in India. However, a strict lockdown has been imposed in India since March 24. Planned field activities had to be postponed. Nonetheless, our team decided to launch the app using social media channels to reach farmers, and video conference calls with community representatives. The app was developed in collaboration with Rainforest Alliance and the Western Ghats Sustainable Coffee Consortium.

Coffee producer using My Crop Care 

Ongoing lockdowns across the world call for innovative ways to support farmers remotely. SmartFarming has developed user-friendly offline platforms supporting knowledge-transfers from experts (agronomists, meteorologists, input dealers, pathologists) to farmers. At SmartFarming, we are always looking for new opportunities enabling us to help more farmers.

Please contact info@resiliencebv.com if your organization is looking for alternative, innovative methods to continue their training activities in this difficult time.


Field activities by farmers in the APSAN-Vale project, May 2020

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