More than half a billion Africans depend on small scale farming for their livelihood. For those with livestock, cattle are often the family’s most valuable asset, providing them with meat, dairy, manure, pulling power for ploughs and transport. Farmers across the globe will understand how difficult it is when an animal is unwell, but it is even worse if you aren’t able to provide them with the necessary treatment, something that many farmers in Africa experience.
In the developing world there is a lack of professional veterinary services available to farmers. Part of the problem comes down to the rural location of many farms, which means that accessing vetinary services when your animal is sick can prove difficult. Recognising this during a visit to Ethiopia, Craig Taylor, Co-Founder of Cojengo, took advantage of the emerging mobile market to co-create a new app that empowers farmers to diagnose and treat their animals themselves.
Talk of technology in agriculture may start alarm bells ringing for some, particularly in relation to Africa, where biotechnology companies, such as Monsanto and Syngenta, have certainly made their presence felt by investing significant amounts of money into the continent. But we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Mobile technology creates a unique opportunity to reach people in remote places unlike ever before, and the market for it is growing faster in Africa than anywhere else in the world.
Although mobile phones are on the rise, access to the internet still has a way to go in some areas. This is something that the designers had in mind when creating VetAfrica, as the app was always designed to work offline and syncs data when appropriate.
The app deals with diseases that are most prevalent in East Africa, mainly Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, as over 80% of people in this region are involved with agriculture in some way.
VetAFrica works in two ways, firstly it provides information so that farmers are able to diagnose and treat their animals themselves. Secondly, it can also be used to help the vets and other animal health workers, as farmers can provide them with the data they have collected, which means they are better prepared with the right resources when going out to rural areas.
The diseases covered by the app include:
- Parasitic Gastroenteritis
By recording illnesses, farmers can track and share this data with others to prevent any future outbreaks.
VetAfrica have free trials on offer with the option to purchase a subscription for 30, 90 and 360 days. To download the app, or to find out more, click here.
Featured image by CGIAR Climate
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