A new report from Wefarm one of the world largest farmer to farmer digital network indicates that 1.1 Million farmers both in Uganda and Kenya are embracing the use of ICT in accessing Agricultural Extension services.
According to the report, for the first time, farmers have used the platform to ask and get answered more than one million questions through Wefarm in a single calendar month. With one in five farms in Kenya and Uganda using the network,
“Hitting one million farmers is the first step in our global expansion and we’re expecting growth to accelerate quickly from here on out.
“Wefarm now shares more content than Stack Overflow and have more content contributors than Wikipedia.
“Now that we’ve demonstrated that our network works on a mass scale, we’re looking towards our commercial vision for 2019 and beyond, which may include both data intelligence services and the creation of a marketplace that puts farmer’s needs first<” Kenny Ewan, CEO of Wefarm.
How does the network work?
According to Kenny Ewan, CEO of Wefarm Wefarm’s, the network allows small-scale farmers to ask each other questions on anything related to agriculture and then receive bespoke content and ideas in response. Farmers can ask questions in any language and messaging is free of charge.
“Because of our innovation has farmers have accessed to Information depending on their Sector their venturing in the Agriculture sector this has helped them in making decision making for their Enterprises which also reduces the cost of doing agriculture,” he said in the report which the organization released.
The platform can be utilized for both farmers who are not connected to the Internet, he explained that If farmers don’t have internet access (as many do not), they can access Wefarm via SMS on their mobile phones. Wefarm’s machine learning algorithms then match each question to the best-suited responder.
The average time it takes for a farmer to receive an answer to their question is under six minutes – even for farmers without internet.
Kenny Ewan noted that Knowledge shared on Wefarm can help farmers produce a higher quality product, increase yields, gain insight into pricing, tackle the effects of climate change, diversify agricultural interests, and source the best seeds, fertilisers, and loans.
Wefarm’s natural language processing (NLP) libraries are the first of this kind in the world; this model can identify three regional African languages – Kiswahili, Luganda, and Runyankore – in addition to English.
This means, unlike with other networks, Wefarm users don’t need proficiency in English. These increases reach and access.
BY SAMUEL NABWIISO