Urban influx due to large-scale migration is a major global trend. In South Africa, as in the rest of the continent, “the main driver of such migration is the search for better employment and education opportunities”, says Charl van der Merwe of the Africa Institute of South Africa. One of the challenges of this trend, he adds, is ensuring food security.
Technology, however, is making a difference.
“More than ever before, technology is transforming Africa and unlocking its potential,” writes Mfonobong Nsehe at Forbes.com. “As the rest of the world leapfrogs in technological innovation, African software developers are doing the same. They’re creating ground-breaking, cutting-edge mobile technologies to solve African problems in communities closest to them.”
An example of this is the agricultural app, iCow.
With many previously disadvantaged South Africans now farming on land reform farms but lacking know-how,
the sector is faced with a major challenge. iCow can help by empowering small-scale farmers and increasing production and profitability.
iCow, winner of the first Apps4Africa competition held in 2010, is an agricultural app accessible by cellphone and the web. It was launched in Kenya in 2011, and offers farmers a cow gestation calendar and access to vets, AI officers and livestock markets across Kenya. While not all aspects will apply to SA users, much of the app is useful here.
The Indigo Trust awarded iCow a grant to set up a multilingual customer centre so that iCow users could interact with each other to find relevant solutions. The app also has a Facebook page, while many users have set up their own sites.
Next issue: how the iCow app works.