iShamba, a mobile based platform that enables small holder farmers access real time agricultural and market price information and expert advice via SMS and a call centre, won global recognition in the recently held Mobile Innovation Awards.
iShamba is funded by TRAC, the TradeMark East Africa’s Challenge Fund and was devised by Mediae Company, Kenya.
On 6th October 2015, the Mediae Company was awarded the winner of the ‘Effective Integration of Mobile in an OmniChannel Strategy’ category to reflect the valuable contribution made by iShamba in delivering agricultural information to farmers via SMS and call centre, alongside Mediae’s existing Shamba Shape-Up program that is offered via radio, print and TV. In addition, the product’s innovation was recognised with the “Regional Award (Africa)”.
iShamba is the mobile complement to Shamba Shape-Up, an “edutainment” programme created by The Mediae Company. Aimed at East Africa’s rapidly growing rural audience, the makeover-style TV show aims to give its audience the tools they need to improve their farm’s productivity and profitability.
Launched in March 2015, the iShamba project aimed to assist 20,000 smallholder farmers but as of the end of September 2015 this target had been well surpassed. The market price information improves a farmer’s bargaining power by providing timely information on crop prices from 27 markets across Kenya. “If you subscribe you get market prices for a couple of crops in a couple of locations, you get weather information, and we also send agri-tips, which are very local and time sensitive” – Rachel Cowell, Product Manager at iShamba. Alongside this, farmers are currently benefiting from ‘special offers’ and ‘discounts’ from key EAC-based agri-product suppliers who are keen to work with iShamba to reach new customers.
Mobile Innovations Awards entrants were drawn from throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.
The Mobile Innovation Awards were launched for the EMEA region, to celebrate the enormous growth in mobile technology and recognise the impact mobile technologies are having across the region along with embracing innovation now and in the future. Winning a coveted Mobile Innovations prize is in itself a very good way of providing endorsement for a product.