COVID-19: Digital Advice for Farmers Through App
Geodata for Agriculture and Water (G4AW) improves food security in developing countries by using satellite data and making this information available to farmers via SMS and mobile applications. G4AW is implemented by several public private partnerships (PPPs). ICCO leads or takes parts in several of these PPPs throughout Asia among them SMARTseeds. Geodata for Agriculture and Water is a program funded by the Netherlands Space Office.
In recent years, vegetable farmers in Indonesia have been highly affected by changes in climate, weather patterns and availability of water. While farmers used to rely on radio and television, general information is nowadays insufficient for good crop planning. The same is true for information on soil nutrients, estimated price of commodities, and new technologies on fertilizer and seeds.
Many vegetable farmers lack market access and information, as well as technical support services. These factors have resulted in the inconsistent quality of vegetables produced, such as chili, tomato and cucumbers. The Indonesian consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables is below the recommended level set by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
As the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables is increasing, especially in urban areas in Indonesia, the government attempts to achieve food self-sufficiency through improved farming techniques, which increase their production and income. This opens opportunities for a local project which fits in the Geodata for Agriculture and Water (G4AW), using satellite data to improve food security in developing countries. Farmers receive information via SMS or mobile phone applications on sustainable farming techniques, how to reduce the number of pests and diseases, and info on daily market prices.
Within the G4AW projects, SMARTseeds stands out as a service providing advice based on location-specific data. While there are currently over 30+ mobile apps on the market providing agriculture advice, none provide services based on a specific farm location. SMARTseeds is able to do this through the use of geodata and soil information collected from the field.
It provides three information services:
Vegetable Seed Company PT East West Seed Indonesia (EWINDO) and SMARTseeds together introduced the mobile application ‘Sipindo’, which includes features such as weather and climate forecasts with a spatial resolution of up to 5 km, location-specific irrigation advice, GAP and pest and disease digital guides. It also contains recommendations for soil nutrient content based on lab test results, fertilizer recommendations, and a guide for farmers which enables them to select the crops that are most suitable for their soil conditions. What makes these features more unique is that the information is location-based (location-specific data).
Since the launch of SIPINDO powered by SMARTseeds in 2018, the app has reached more than 92,000 farmers in Indonesia. The demo plots and the endline survey results showed that the project managed to support farmers increase their productivity by 22% exceeding that target project of 10%. and increase the usage of seeds, pesticides, fertilizers, and water by 15-19%. As of July 2021, the Sipindo app has been downloaded by 92,000 users. SMARTseeds intends to reach 100,000 farmers -of whom at least 30% are female by the end of 2021.
More information: www.sipindo.id
SMARTseeds is one of the Geodata for Agriculture and Water (G4AW) projects funded by the Netherlands Space Office. This program is a Public Private Partnerships (PPP) involving 6 public and private partners from Indonesia and the Netherlands: ICCO Cooperation, EWINDO, Nelen & Schuurman, University of Twente (ITC), Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB), and Akvo.
After the project ends in 2020, the SIPINDO powered by SMARTseeds app service is currently owned and operated by SIPINDO social enterprise, which is a joint venture Dutch and Indonesian partners which are East West Seed Indonesia, ICCO Cooperation, Nelen and Schuurmans, and IPB University. The services can easily be extended for other types of crops and/or implemented to other regions in Southeast Asia.
“We hope that the information services can provide valuable support to farmers to help them farm more efficiently and more effectively deal with factors, such as climate change”
“The main problem I faced on my farm was on the provision of fertilizer. There was no service to support me and that’s why I agreed to be a demo plot farmer for SMARTseeds. In December 2017, I had my first harvest. Based on the fertilizer advice from SMARTseeds, I was able to spend EUR 35.00 less than I normally would on my inputs”
“The features of the mobile application are expected to support farmers predict the weather in more detail, to provide fertilizer recommendations and to guide the selection of crops that are most suitable for the farmers’ soil conditions”
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