In recent years, there have been significant advances in the use of digital innovations as a driving force in agriculture value chains. However, despite the increasing potential and penetration of such technologies, adoption by rural farmers, particularly women, continues to be low. They are unable to maximize their productivity, output, and income due to lack of reliable and timely access to reliable information.
In Nigeria, the partnership between FrieslandCampina WAMCO (FCW) and 2SCALE aims to support local production capacity and supply of fresh milk among the Fulani community. Promoting best practices and transparency in milk sourcing is key to achieving this goal. Consequently, Tech4Ag was contracted by 2SCALE in 2020 to support FCW to implement the trial of a digital application-mDairy - that supports the profiling of milk aggregators and farmers in a gender and age disaggregated format. It also keeps track of milk records and transactions made by all aggregators. This information is then linked to a payment platform which reduces the possibility of errors that can be made in manual recording and payment.
Being a demand-driven technology, an additional module “transporters’ profile” was added to the mDairy platform. This module was suggested by the Community livestock Workers and FCW’s Milk Collection officers.
The mDairy App: viable, user friendly, and inclusive
The mDairy App is the first digital platform for dairy farmers in Nigeria. Farmers can be profiled in real-time thus providing digital identity for each farmer and milk aggregator.
The advent of this technology in Nigeria has enabled access to information by farmers and extension officers, as well as digitized the process of milk recording which was once paper-based and cumbersome. Oyewale Abioye-co-founder of mDairy narrates
mDairy has created transparency and accountability. Milk recording officers and farmers can now record milk supplied via their mobile phones. This data is critical to tracking and monitoring milk supplied by each farmer as well as for transparency and accountability along the dairy value chain. Farmers and extension officers can also access dairy information and best practices on animal health, milk hygiene, vaccination, and cross-breeding. This is a first for the dairy sector in Nigeria!
To build the capacity of end-users, Tech4Ag facilitated a Training of Trainers to 43 dairy farmers and Milk Collection Officers from 9 Milk Collection Points and 5 Milk Collection Centres in Oyo State. A user manual was produced and distributed to all the participants, to enhance their ability to train other farmers.
Says Gbadegesin Alawode-co founder of Mdairy.
In response to this, a total of 20 female youth farmers received mobile tablets containing the mDairy App. This is aimed at improving digital literacy, awareness, and inclusion of women dairy farmers while boosting mobile phone ownership among them. They have received training also, to ensure ease of use of such a digital platform.
The mDairy Application is end-user friendly as it is translated into local Nigerian languages. It can be used on any android device either online or offline, which creates efficiency for users in rural areas with limited internet connectivity. The customization into local languages and the demand-driven nature of the application have led to high adoptability as 43 farmers and 10 extension officers are active users.