Climate change combined with unsustainable farming practices have exhausted the soil across Africa. In addition to the growing lack of arable land, agricultural knowledge and education have proven to be in short supply.
With this in mind, the Haller Foundation — a UK registered charity and Kenyan NGO — devised a plan to provide farmers across the continent with the information, skills and infrastructure they need to thrive through an award-winning mobile app called Haller Farmers.
Here are three reasons why African farmers should use the app:
1. Haller Farmers has been designed by farmers for farmers
Initially launched in 2014 and redeveloped as a native, downloadable app in 2020, Haller Farmers was thoroughly tested across Kenya, in conjunction with Ministry of Agriculture officials and smallholder farmers to ensure it meets the needs of its users.
The app also incorporates bright and bold colours inspired by the rural African landscape, with icons and illustrations celebrating the way of life of Haller’s farming communities.
Chairman of the Haller Foundation, Jonathan Ford says, “by redesigning Haller’s original farmers’ app we have once again set the pace in line with technological advancement in sub-Saharan Africa and most importantly for the needs of the end-user – Haller inspired farmers everywhere”.
2. Haller Farmers gives farmers access to knowledge, skills and techniques at the touch of a button
Haller Farmers is focused on small-scale food production with a strong emphasis on youth farming. It gives smallholder farmers insight into affordable, organic and environmentally friendly farming techniques, all of which are low cost and widely replicable.
In addition to Haller’s farming techniques, users can expect to learn about Youth Farming, Human & Animal Conflict Management and Conservation directly from the Android app.
This digital tool also allows farmers to connect with like-minded users from across the world through its messaging platform — the Noticeboard. Here, users can share their knowledge, live farming and weather updates, and the Haller team can provide support.
3. Haller Farmers is working with partners to improve access to technology in rural Africa
One of the first challenges in the dissemination of the Haller Farmers app is the access to mobile technology needed to download it. This is where Mara Phones — an African smartphone manufacturer — comes in.
Through this partnership, people are able to buy phones at a discounted rate by using the code ‘Haller’ at checkout. These phones are automatically distributed by Haller to communities that do not already have access to mobile technology. Click here to donate a phone to a farmer.
The second challenge is providing access to the app when there are limited sources of power to charge phones. To combat this, the Haller Foundation has partnered with Deciwatt to distribute the NowLight, a lamp that can be used to charge phones through USB ports and supports mains and solar charging to increase its versatility.
Today, the newly redesigned Haller Farmers is recognised as the “Best Android App of the Year 2020” at the UK App Awards. It is available in both English & Swahili and is supported by Swahili audio to overcome any illiteracy challenges.