The Africa Rice Center developed a smartphone app that helps farmers to use fertilisers more efficiently.
Photo: © R. Raman/africarice

12.05.2017

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Farmers in West Africa could increase their rice yields by using a smartphone app – “riceadvice” – developed by the Africa Rice Center. The app mainly offers tailor-made recommendations for efficient mineral fertiliser use.

Thanks to a one-year project supported by the government of Japan, 200 trained service providers have helped more than 16,000 rice farmers in Mali and Nigeria benefit from “riceadvice, a customised crop management decision support tool, leading to increased productivity, efficiency and profits.
Developed by the Africa Rice Center (africarice), the “riceadvice” app, which can be freely downloaded through Google Play on Android smartphone or tablet device, generates tailor-made recommendations that help farmers in irrigated and relatively favourable rain-fed lowland areas in Africa apply mineral fertiliser more efficiently in order to optimise production and profits and reduce waste.

Farmers’ efficient use of mineral fertiliser coupled with good agricultural practices is one of the keys to enhancing rice production in sub-Saharan Africa, where the average yield is around 2.1 tons per hectare (t/ha), says africarice in a press release issued in late March. africarice studies have shown that the adoption of “riceadvice” recommendations can increase rice yield by 0.6 to 1.8 t/ha in farmers’ fields.

Partnering with GIZ and Syngenta to spread the app

According to the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit Competitive African Rice Initiative (GIZ-CARI), which is one of the important project partners of Africa Rice in Nigeria, a specific innovative element of “riceadvice” is that it is not only based on the agronomic conditions, but also on the financial capacity of the farmer.

CARI is helping in deploying the “riceadvice” technology to over 9,000 farmers in Nigeria through 97 trained service providers.

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