By Fredrique Achieng’
Smallholder farmers are getting real-time extension officer services by using Digicow, a mobile app that focuses in giving personalized updates, animal management, and expert advice to dairy farmers.
To enroll in this service, farmers can download the app on Google Play Store.
As farmers interact with the app they are able to ask questions and get feedback from experts, record data for their animals in terms term of milk production and medical records this is to enable farmers to make data-driven decisions so as to improve their farm productivity.
Peninah Wanja the founder of the app and certified extension officer, was inspired to create the app after seeing her mother experience the challenges of dairy farming at a young age.
The major challenge that dairy farmers have are the low milk process and low productivity which is affected by various reasons and not keeping accurate data is one of them together with farmers caring for their animals on and trial and error basis.
The app helps farmers set up a continuous relationship with the farmer where actionable advice is given to the farmer based on information that they have input for each of their animals.
Currently, the app has been a help to at least 20,000 farmers since its inception in 2018 and has an MOU with Nandi Dairy Cooperative society to continuously offer training to their members.
A major problem that the app developed at the early stages was that it could only be accessed by 50 percent of their users who use smartphone devices meaning non-smartphone users would be locked out. But this problem has been solved by the development of an Interactive Voice Response (IVR).
This is done by Digicow calling or sending SMSs to farmers and give them extension services through a lecture in their native language.
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Filling in the gap of extension officers;
“Even though the government continues to train extension officers, the number of farmers continues to grow, and this is where Digicow is capitalizing on. By having training rooms and chat rooms, where a farmer can get recommendations about how to care for their dairy cows. Chat with livestock production and management experts is an asset many farmers can leverage on” says Peninah.
Digicow can be contacted on 0743162518