Kenya is arguable the epicenter of the worldwide mobile application frenzy. The east-African nation churns out a new top-rated, demand driven application nearly every six months. The latest innovation is iCow,
a voice based mobile information application for diary farmers. Green Dreams Ltd, the developer, says iCow will help farmers optimally manage livestock breeding.
The earthy app is rapidly winning over agriculturalists and tech enthusiasts. It won first place in the recently held Apps4Africa competition, a U.S funded project. The iCow has also been lauded by the Social Development Network (SODNET) and Biovision Africa Trust.
The iCow will help farmers efficaciously track a cow’s estrus cycle, manage nutrition and breeding, which will enable them to yield more milk and calves—the two indicators of a cow’s economic value. This demand-drive and culturally appropriate technology complements the ubiquitous cellphone to address key agricultural challenges. Chief among these challenges are: Poor record keeping; outmoded and hard to acquire and comprehend calendars, including the cardboard wheel system; and the gaping information vacuum.
The iCow app address these problems. It will deliver prompt farmers about their cow’s nutrition, illness and diseases, vaccinations, milk hygiene, milking technologies and techniques. This will be done via a series of voice prompts and SMS messages that will be sent to the farmer throughout the cow cycle. Critically, the voice-based nature of this application combats the problem of literacy, a major impediment to ICT4D.
The iCow is Green Dreams’ most recent plugin for the flagship app, Mkulima Farmer Information Service and Helpline (Mkulima FISH), which is being developed.