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8 September, 2020

Kenyan entrepreneur digitizes ancestral knowledge on meteorology

The Kenyan-born entrepreneur Muthoni Masinde created Itiki, a platform to record the knowledge of rural farmers about growing and harvesting seasons. The platform observes the behavior of animals and plants to establish the weather and prevent drought.

Muthoni Masinde, a computer scientist and entrepreneur of Kenyan origin living in South Africa, developed the Itiki platform which combines meteorological data and traditional knowledge of rural farmers to forecast growing and harvesting seasons. This science is generally based on the observation of the behavior of animals, trees and flowers.

At one time, farmers and indigenous people used their knowledge of nature to predict the different seasons. Combining this knowledge with modern meteorological data would allow farmers to be better prepared for the effects of climate change.

The entrepreneur works with rural youth to collect photos of animals (insects, birds) and plants, which she observes and updates regularly. This data, combined with weather station forecasts, is then sent to the farmers via an application or a direct message by phone.

The service, which costs a few cents, is also available in local languages to reach farmers in rural areas, most of whom are illiterate. The data helps them make better decisions about what to grow, thereby reducing the risk of farm losses. Muthoni Masinde says this solution has increased farmers’ yields by 11 percent.

Launched in 2016, the Itiki platform is already being used by 15,000 farmers in Kenya, South Africa, and Mozambique. The initiative has received funding of $750,000 from the United States and South Africa, which are requesting the application for various operations.

More about ITIKI :

SOURCE: Agence Ecofin

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