Airtel, GSMA work together to empower approximately 250,000 small-holder Kenyan farmers
NAIROBI, Kenya, September 5, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ --
• Airtel Africa receives grant of USD 400,000 for innovative new project dubbed 'Sauti ya Mkulima'
• Airtel Africa with GSMA support to provide tailor-made, reliable and relevant agricultural information to Kenyan farmers via their mobile phones
• Information will help farmers make better decisions about their crops, increasing productivity of yield and potential income
Airtel Africa today announced that it is working with the GSMA to initiate a project to provide approximately 250,000 small-holder farmers in Kenya reliable and relevant agricultural information via their mobile phones. The innovative project, dubbed 'Sauti ya Mkulima' (Swahili for voice of the farmer), aims to provide farmers with access to pertinent agriculture-related information, advice and research that will help them make better decisions about their crops, increasing the productivity of their yield, as well as their potential income. It will also help create a farmer community within which peers can share experiences and exchange information about social gatherings, events, and job opportunities.
“At Airtel, we recognize innovative telecommunications solutions have the power to transform communities. This initiative is a solid testament to what partnerships that harness relevant consumer needs can achieve in overcoming daily challenges. We are excited and thankful to the partners involved in birthing this initiative,” explains Shivan Bhargava, Managing Director, Airtel Kenya.
He continues: “Our 'Sauti ya Mkulima' project will provide small-holder farmers with access to quality content, information and know-how on agriculture-related activities. Gaining access to this information will be immensely beneficial to the farmers whose livelihoods are dependent on their yield. The information will allow them to make better informed decisions that will result in improved productivity.”
As part of the partnership, the GSMA mFarmer initiative – supported by USAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – has awarded Airtel USD 400,000 to be used towards the 'Sauti ya Mkulima' project. The initiative aims to facilitate the rapid scaling of the use of mobile phone networks to provide farmers in developing countries with agricultural information. The funds will be used to develop a reliable database of content with the help of partners such as the Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI), an inter-governmental not-for-profit organization and radio-based information provider Kilimo Media, as well as to set up the technological capabilities to execute the project with the help of world-class technology service providers.
Initially, 'Sauti ya Mkulima' will focus on small-holder Kenyan farmers engaged in maize, banana, mango, rice, beans and horticulture (tomato and black night shade) crops. Information on more crops will be added on a quarterly basis. Airtel plans to further develop the model and eventually replicate it across all its markets on the continent.
Distributed by the African Press Organization on behalf of Bharti Airtel Limited.
About Bharti Airtel
Bharti Airtel Limited (http://www.airtel.com) is a leading integrated telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa. Headquartered in New Delhi, India, the company ranks amongst the top 5 mobile service providers globally in terms of subscribers. In India, the company's product offerings include 2G, 3G and 4G services, fixed line, high speed broadband through DSL, IPTV, DTH, enterprise services including national & international long distance services to carriers. In the rest of the geographies, it offers 2G, 3G mobile services. Bharti Airtel had over 262 million customers across its operations at the end of July 2012. To know more please visit, http://www.airtel.com.
Note to the Editor
CABI's mission is to improve people's lives by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment. As farmers seek to improve productivity and profitability, they need up-to-date technical information based on good research. Mobile phones provide a great new opportunity for delivering the information, and the mFarmer project provides a platform for making this a reality.
About the GSMA Development Fund
The GSMA Development Fund brings together our mobile operator members, the wider mobile industry and the development community to drive commercial mobile services for underserved people in emerging markets. We identify opportunities for social, economic and environmental impact and stimulate the development of scalable, life-enhancing mobile services.
Mobile is the predominant infrastructure in emerging markets. We believe it is the transformative technology that enables us to put relevant, impactful services into the hands of underserved people. Since the creation of the GSMA Development Fund we have partnered with 35 mobile operators, rolling out 53 services, impacting tens of millions of people across 30 countries.