There is an urgent need for change in the agricultural and livestock systems of Africa. Livestock feed prices are escalating due to water scarcity caused by lack of space and the effects of climate change and remain unaffordable to poor smallholder farmers. These farmers comprise 80% of the agricultural workforce in East Africa. With high feed prices, large-scale livestock and crop production are stunted.
M-Fodder, a mobile phone application, connects smallholder livestock farmers to high-quality fodder through SMS messages. This technology is game changing in two ways. First, it promotes production of high quality affordable hydroponic fodder, which utilizes about 10% less water than traditional fodder. Second, the production, technology dissemination, and marketing of the fodder utilizes the fastest and most affordable means of communication—mobile phone technology.
How Does it Work?
M-Fodder’s SMS system enables farmers to access a reliable source of low- cost, sustainable hydroponic fodder right through their phones. Livestock farmers send the distributor an SMS with the fodder quantity required and their location. The farmer will receive a call from the fodder producer within minutes and receive a delivery of hydroponic fodder within seven days.
M-Fodder is capitalizing on the rapid uptake of mobile technology by farmers and creates a gateway for communication between growers and fodder producers. Hydroponic fodder is water efficient and sustainable and may help decrease the number of farmers out of work due to drought and feed price.