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.
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.
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
Status of Innovation Platform
Phase of Innovation Platform Progress
Description of Innovations
Adcast (ug) mobile application which already in the google play store
Use of current institutional framework
Pastoralists, Agro-pastoralists and agro-basede farmers in the cattle corridor of Uganda
Green Tag Africa Ltd
Uganda Chattered Health-net
Other companies that sell products and services to farmers
Ministry of Water and Environment
Uganda National Meteorological Authority
National Agricultural Research Organization
Green Tag Africa Ltd
Technical personnel at local government level
Micro Financing Institutions
Total Number of Stakeholders
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
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
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.
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.