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Made in Africa: Three mobile apps to fight climate crisis

Apps4Africa helps African farmers to be more productive in the face of climate change. Photo: <a href="">IICD (Flickr)</a>
Apps4Africa helps African farmers to be more productive in the face of climate change. Photo: IICD (Flickr)

As the Apps4Africa climate challenge announces its winners, African farmers and communities gain new market tools in tackling the everyday challenges of climate change. And who better to design these tools than Africans themselves?

The concept of the challenge is simple: Improve productivity and livelihoods while rewarding innovative approaches to climate change problems. The Apps4Africa climate challenge is modeled after the previous Apps4Africa civic challenge, which promoted “innovative technological solutions to everyday problems on issues ranging from transparency and governance to health and education.”

This time though, the target is climate change. The avenue is mobile technology, and the goal is improved productivity and profits.

Apps4Africa works in coordination with software company Appfrica International to incentivize development of mobile applications that help people adapt to local climate change, while merging input from civil society, academics and the private sector. App developers benefit as well, with monetary prizes and the potential to market their ingenuity as use of the applications spreads.

Winning applications analyze market potential and resource patterns. Here are three of our favorites:

Watching the weather: In Ghana, farmers can now access information about weather patterns and information on crop yields in a changing climate, thanks to the Farmerline application developed by Alloysius Attah and Emmanuel Owusu Addai. Farmerline provides short- and long-term weather pattern forecasts, and helps farmers choose crops best suited for their location and projected climate patterns.

Knowing where the goods are: Eric Mutta of Tanzania received a $15,000 prize for The Grainy Bunch app. Want to monitor the movement and storage of grain in the country? Ask The Grainy Bunch. As a prime commodity for growth in Tanzania, efficiency in grain production is central to the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of residents. Mutta’s app is designed to keep tabs on Tanzania’s grain supply and minimize disruptions in its supply chain. Helping farmers and distributors track changes in production patterns lets grain move and markets thrive.

Expanding a farmer's universe: A group of designers in Uganda had market flexibility on their minds when designing the Agro Universe app. Farmers with products or livestock for sale can connect remotely with potential buyers, and will be alerted to market demands beyond their immediate area. When marketplaces go regional, every farm gets more productive.

Apps4Africa rewards ingenuity while maximizing efficiency. For Africa’s farmers, distributors, and communities, that's a winning formula.

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