Adcast Uganda

Adcast Uganda

Description

Adcast is a multi-stakeholder platform that delivers agricultural advisory information using ICT tools to farmers in the Uganda cattle corridor to enhance their resilience to climate change. Since 2012, there is an IDRC funded project entitled climate change adaptation and ICT, CHAI which has been delivering climate based information through a 10 day weather forecast coupled with relevant advisory on water security, markets and nutrition to over 100,000 homesteads. The main media used was interactive radio and sms. Rainfall data is collected by Met stations at the sub-counties in 4 pilot districts using automatic rain gauges, recorded by Met officers and send to the Uganda National Meteorological Authority for analysis where the 10 day forecast is generated, relevant advisory is input by technical officers at the local government mainly sub-county level and then sent to farmers as the main end users. There were a number of logistical and technical challenges including which included delayed payments to Met officers, field officers, replacement of smart phones used in data entry by technical personnel which hampered the sustainability of the project. Green Tag Africa Ltd came on board with a mobile application called Adcast to close the delivery gaps and ensure sustainability as coverage and multi-stakeholder engagement becomes key.  The first version of Adcast┬« application sits on android smart phones with a number of key user features that will be informed by baseline survey of case study project that has been piloting the use of ICT tools in the Ssembabule, Nakasongola and Soroti using Rakai district as a control since 2012. Features in the application address a number of gaps including; low user coverage, no tracking system to identify who has received the sent information, SMS allows for little content due to limited characters used, lack of feedback, timely advisory, no recording system of received information for future reference, lack of peer participation or group dynamics for local and indigenous knowledge exchange in order to address category specific challenges. Low cost phone users also receive information directly from technical people through their fellow farmers who act as admins to specific groups. Accurate and localized forecast has been achieved to a great extent and can cheaply be sustained by this sort of platform. 

Basic Information

Entry Point

An initial pilot with only 250 is ongoing and the results show great hope. One of the breakthrough solutions piloted is multi-stakeholder participation using existing institutions. The second one is feedback where any advisory that has been given does not follow a one way traffic from technical personnel to farmers. The application has offered a chance to farmers to ask for clarification and seek deeper understanding of the received advisory. This also gives the technical people chance to be more effective in both content and mode, frequency of delivery. The third is peer to peer farmer participation. Here the application offers social media platform where farmers exchange text pictures and videos but monitored by admins to maintain the scope. Through farmer group leaders more farmers with low cost phones can be added and managed. Trainnings, farm visits and demos are part of the activities run in groups. 

Commodities

Country

Uganda

Location(s) of Innovation Platform in Uganda

Participating States, Villages and Institutions

Its a partnership between FHI 360, Uganda Chartered HealthNet, the Ministry of Water and Environment, Makerere University and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Geen Tag Africa Ltd, Uganda National Meteorological Authority and Local Governments of the participating districts. 

These include; Rakai, Nakasongola, Soroti and Sembabule

Date of Establishment

February 5th, 2018

Status of Innovation Platform

Active

Phase of Innovation Platform Progress

Phase 1

Innovations

ICT, Climate based information, agricultural advisory, multi-stakeholder action, peer to peer particuiaption

Description of Innovations

Adcast (ug) mobile application which already in the google play store

Use of current institutional framework


Partners

Farmers

Pastoralists, Agro-pastoralists and agro-basede farmers in the cattle corridor of Uganda

Private Sector

FHI 360

Green Tag Africa Ltd

Uganda Chattered Health-net

Other companies that sell products and services to farmers

Policy Makers

Ministry of Water and Environment

Local Governments

Uganda National Meteorological Authority

Researchers

Makerere University

IDRC

National Agricultural Research Organization

Extension

Green Tag Africa Ltd

Technical personnel at local government level


Micro Financing Institutions

N/A

Others

Total Number of Stakeholders

11 - 20

Opportunities Addressed

There is both increased efficiency of information delivery and effectiveness of the information delivered. 

There is increased diversity of multi-stakeholder action

Improved follow up of adoption levels for the information delivered

 Indigenous knowledge is captured through the platform and harnessed for better application 

Both smart and low cost phone users catered for

Achievements to Date

A pilot in three districts is ongoing with 250 participants, a baseline survey has been carried out 

Willingness to formalize the platform has been reached

Farmers have expressed willingness to pay for the service


Challenges Remaining

With increasing coverage comes the question of accuracy of the forecast and localization of the same to sub-county level. This poses a logistical and technical challenge where more automated rain gauges have to be procured and installed in all participating sub-counties, salaries of more met officers have to be paid for collection, recording and submission of timely generic rainfall data. The current version of  mobile application needs to be updated to add features like; giving farmers an option to receive information in their local languages as it was in the SMS and radio transmissions, increasing the localization of the information, allowing data collectors to use the same app to reduce logistics, adding filters to content and acquiring several APIs to automate a number of services.  Costs od operating the platform are currently borne by Green Tag Africa at the pilot stage as part of a feasibility study but eventually the consortium has to share this cost. 

Sustainability Issues

The project is very capital intensive but through government subsidies and private sector involvement it can be sustained. Once the rain gauges are in place, the application will make operations less costly since all stakeholders will be given admin rights to access and add content remotely.

Willingness of farmers to cost share will heavily be exploited past the pilot once value has been demonstrated. 

There is a set institutional framework which is a very strong pillar in sustaining the platform. It only comes to support what is already in place and whose mandate is shared by the stakeholders. These already have existing budget for the work being supported. 

Innovation Platform Members