LOS ANGELES, California — the most important country in East Africa , Tanzania, has been known to use agriculture to drive economic process since 75% of Tanzania’s population is used within the agricultural sector. Medium‐scale farms and little , commercialized farms have secured leading roles in Tanzanian agriculture. Nearly one-third of the country’s GDP comes from agriculture; however, “70% of the population sleep in extreme poverty most of whom are hooked in to agriculture.” the event of Agripoa software aims to revolutionize agriculture in Tanzania.
Artificial Intelligence in Agriculture
In 1956, John McCarthy coined the term “artificial intelligence” (AI), at Dartmouth College . Since agriculture remains the most important sort of employment in Africa, innovative technology and AI are increasingly essential in modernizing the world .
An AI solution made an appearance in Africa in 2019 when programmer , Placidius Castus Rwechungura, created a farm management software tool to assist African poultry farmers plan, monitor and analyze farm activities. The software, Agripoa, revolutionized agriculture in Tanzania by providing data-driven insights to assist farmers make the proper decisions at the proper time.
The Borgen Project interviewed Rwechungura. He said that the word, “Agripoa,” may be a combination of two words of English and Swahili. “Agri” means “agriculture” in English and “poa” means “fine” or “cool” in Swahili. Rwechungura said these phrases were combined to mean “agriculture is cool.” Agripoa uses AI to gather poultry data to guage results through analytics. this enables farmers the chance to match results and conduct statistical analyses.
In November 2020, Agripoa was selected as a finalist within the start-up category for African Development Bank’s AYAF AgriPitch Competition.
In the interview, Rwechungura shared that the thought for the corporate began in 2017 during employment at the United Bank for America. While working within the banking sector, Rwechungura was farming crops part-time on a four-acre farm. “Many farmers wanted to become big farmers but they lacked proper Information, markets, credit facilities and proper records and history,” Rwechungura shared.
He was fueled by a desire to tackle these challenges and aimed to develop software to unravel them. Rwechungura then resigned and commenced performing on his dream. He launched the corporate with $5,000 from the Tony Elumelu Foundation and a private bank account from his previous employment. Members of the partnership also built websites and developed software to finance the project.
How Agripoa Helps Farmers
According to the official Agripoa website, the software will help farmers get market connections and teach them about the standard of products needed during a given market. it’ll also indicate which products are high in demand. These tools aim to organize farmers to satisfy the stress and standards of their buyers.
The software also allows farmers to trace expenses for animal feeds, medicine and other farm inputs. Additionally, the software alerts a user when money is overspent. The developers hope to form it easy to understand the event of the farm, get a vaccination calendar, track the number of food to feed the animals and obtain informed about new outbreaks.
Creating Connections in Agriculture
In addition, Agripoa intends to assist farmers look for online experts and suppliers without meeting physically with another person, which may be a safer option during the COVID-19 pandemic. A user also can create online farm groups, record daily expenses and find solutions to poultry diseases. Another feature in Agripoa involves chatting with veterinarians and exchanging ideas with nearby or remote farmers. The app consolidates all messages, groups and communications.
Agripoa’s official website advertises the software’s ability to assist farmers form meaningful connections. It states that farmers can use Agripoa to urge connected with other farmers, agronomists for extension services and farm input suppliers and credits.
Users can expect future changes in Agripoa. Rwechungura shared plans to feature the Farm Management Feature. this may help the farmers keep their farm data properly, including day-to-day activities. This new feature will use an equivalent data for insights and analytics to assist farmers make better decisions.
Farm Data Risks
Rwechungura told How we made it in Africa that he believes the foremost successful sort of marketing may be a combination of online advertisements and dealing alongside agronomists, veterinary officers and farm experts to plug to customers. Rwechungura cares about the shortage of farm data ownership policies in Tanzania. He shares that this is often the danger his business faces. the corporate currently has eight full-time staff members. Agripoa looks to rent experts with different backgrounds like software engineers, programmers, veterinary experts and marketing experts. the corporate values versatility during a team.
The Future of Agripoa
Rwechungura said the foremost rewarding a part of working for Agripoa is connecting with farmers. “We are a really fast-growing company; hence, we encourage experts from round the world to hitch our company as we expect to expand to other countries.” The software currently has 20,000 users and allowed founder Rwechungura to digitize Tanzania’s poultry industry. Rwechungura and his partner, Kelvin, decide to expand to Kenya and Ethiopia next year. Agripoa is revolutionizing agriculture in Tanzania and has the potential to try to to an equivalent for all of Africa.