In Kenya, a mobile dairy app drives profits skyward

In Kenya, a mobile dairy app drives profits skyward

Kenyan dairy farmers using iCow saw an increase in profits and milk production. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gatesfoundation/6775839248/">Gates Foundation (flickr)</a>
Kenyan dairy farmers using iCow saw an increase in profits and milk production. Photo: Gates Foundation (flickr)

A relatively new mobile app has helped dairy farmers in Kenya increase their profits by 42 percent.

Created by Green Dreams Tech Ltd. in 2010, iCow provides smallholder farmers in Kenya with information to help maximize their dairy production and increase their profits. So far, it seems to really work. According to iCow’s own impact study results compiled in January 2012, 82 percent of users who'd joined the previous June were continuing to use iCow's services, thanks to the increase in milk production and profits they'd experienced. Farmers' milk production was up by 56 percent. All those surveyed claimed to have benefited in some way from using iCow.

iCow focuses on the following issues that arise during a cow's lifecycle:

  • Awareness and management of the cow estrus cycle
  • Optimum animal health care through information and access to vets and artificial-insemination agents
  • Optimum animal nutrition
  • Milk record keeping
  • Costs of milk production
  • Prevention and cure of milk-related diseases
  • Feed production
  • Optimum calf care
  • Calf illnesses and diseases

Farmers can use iCow to track each cow individually, and the app is easily accessible through their mobile phones or the internet. It is primarily SMS (text message) and voice message based, and each message costs roughly 10 Kenyan shillings, or 12 U.S. cents. iCow has garnished widespread acclaim, and won numerous awards, most recently in April 2012, when it took home the 2030 ICT Innovation Award for Agriculture.

Curious to know more apps geared towards improving agricultural markets? Check out this comprehensive list at oAfrica.com.

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