innovate africa drought prediction_00003404

The application uses science and tradition to warn African farmers about drought

To prepare farmers for the effects of climate change, Kenyan computer scientist Muthani Masinde has created the mobile platform ITIKI. The name means information technology and indigenous knowledge and the platform sends drought forecasts to farmers through an application or SMS message.

Although it uses weather information, most African farmers can better relate to traditional theological knowledge that is also used to make platform predictions.

“I grew up a [Kenyan] Village and I have noticed that most farmers have no form of science [them] When will it take months, “Masinde told CNN Business.” They look at the insects, they look at the behavior of the animals and then they decide, ‘I think it will rain in two weeks. “

ITIKI employs young people from the farming community to collect photos and updates on animal behavior and local plants, such as which trees are in bloom. They capture their searches on the ITIKI app, and ITIKI collaborates with data from local weather stations on models of weather patterns a few months in advance.

Farmers will be able to subscribe to the service in just one A few cents, And get regular updates in their local language, help them make initial decisions about what crops they should harvest and whether they should sell or store their products.

The economic impact of drought

Many countries in Africa are particularly at risk for climate change And especially small-scale farmers, who depend on rain for their crops, may face poverty and food insecurity. UN climate experts.
This can lead to major economic losses. Agriculture has contributed As one, it accounts for about 15% of Africa’s total GDP. 2017 UN Report, And according to employment about half of this continent African Development Bank.
Masenke, a professor at South Africa’s Central University of Technology Free State, launched the app in Kenya in 2016, which includes agriculture. About one-third of GDP.

“Investment in climate change solutions, especially targeting small-scale farmers, will lead to GDP growth [in Africa], “Said Masinde.

He added that African governments are responding to drought and extreme weather without actively planning for these events. “We are not preparing for that [drought]”He said.” This is exactly what we woke up to and discovered that people in rural Kenya have died of starvation, there is no rain of people on one side of the country. ”

Masinde said ITIKI is now used by more than 15,000 farmers in Kenya, Mozambique and South Africa. Since farmers started using the app, their crop yields have increased by an average of 11%, according to Masined.

ITIKI and 750,000 have been funded by the governments of the United States and South Africa, which will be used to increase operations. By the end of this year, Masinde expects more than 1 million farmers to sign up for the platform.

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