News and knowhow for farmers

Digicow app connects over 20,000 farmers to extension workers

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.

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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

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