The African Dairy Genetics Gains (ADGG) program is working with national and international partners to improve dairy cattle breeding programs in Ethiopia and Tanzania with the aim of helping smallholder dairy farmers enhance the productivity and profitability of their dairy cows and herds, thereby improving their livelihoods.
Among other goals, the program is developing and piloting digital information and communication technology platforms for recording the performance of dairy cows in farms, synthesizing these records and sharing feedback with farmers, via the same platform, so that they can make informed herd management decisions.
Su Kahumbu, a TED global fellow and creative director at Green Dreams Tech Limited, is a member of the ADGG program team.
In this TED talk, How we can help hungry kids, one text at a time, delivered in August 2017; Kahumbu explains how iCow, an agricultural SMS platform she developed, is supporting livestock farmers in the two countries and how animal products are helping meet the nutritional needs of children in the region.
‘In Ethiopia and Tanzania, the ADGG program is using SMS and cutting-edge genomics and pioneering Africa’s first tropically-adapted dairy breeding centres and dairy performance recording centres,’ she says.
‘Farmers contribute data such as milking records, breeding records and feeding records to the ADGG platform which is then synthesized and shared with them in short messages through their mobile phones.’
So far, more than 2 million such messages have been sent to farmers in the two countries.