Other articles

November 2021
Ten new farmer field schools have been established
October 2021
WATERAPPS is implemented in Sylhet and Mymensingh Baba Mohammadu Jamaldeen is going to collect soil moisture information in Tamale Highlighted publication in Nature Climate Change
September 2021
Reinforcing Community Trust and Relationship through Climate Information Services in Bangladesh Delta
July 2021
Building Resilient River Deltas Through Innovations - UDW Regional Events
May 2021
WATERAPPS & WATERAPPscale participation in the UDW regional events call
March 2021
WATERAPPscale - upscaling WATERAPPS information services in Bangladesh
October 2020
Dogbey Richard Kwame in the field to test the Farmer Support App
August 2020
FarmerSupport app traingings have started
June 2020
FarmerSupport mobile App now online
May 2020
Super Cyclone Amphan - People ask for a strong and sustainable embankment
February 2020
Weather Club - A New Horizon for Smallholder Farmers in the Ganges Delta How a Bengali Female farmer experiences Climate Information services
December 2019
WaterApps team workshop and field visit in Khulna How a Bangladeshi farmer experiences the WaterApps Climate Service
September 2019
On a climate service training mission with Uthpal Kumar Apply for the WaterApps Ghana Business until September 15th
July 2019
What makes the best climate/weather app for famers? A Ghana business challenge PICSA monitoring and evaluation workshop
March 2019
Making weather forecasts part of the Bangladeshi farming practice
January 2019
An introduction to scientific seasonal forecasts
November 2018
Identification of success factors in a review of agricultural information services in peri-urban Khulna, Bangladesh
August 2018
Exploring how the flow of water-related information affects farming practices and decision-making in Ada East
May 2018
An innovation systems approach to examine the organization of ICT-based IPs for extension services in Ghana Tailoring weather and water information for sustainable crop production
December 2017
Workshop on Information Services for Farmers in Peri-Urban Khulna
January 1
WATERAPPS & WATERAPPscale shared their findings in the UDW final conference: Breaking barriers-urbanising deltas of the world Seminar - Building bridges for delta interventions: Crossing scales, domains and engaging local stakeholders using the MOTA and WATERAPPstools Climate Coffee Chat: Agriculture, Africa and Women Policy Brief: WATERAPPS & EVOCA Climate Information Services for Food Security in Ghana

Dogbey Richard Kwame in the field to test the Farmer Support App

Written by: Miss (Ms) Joreen Merks, Dogbey Richard Kwame, Doctor (Dr) Spyros Paparrizos
Published: Monday, October 5, 2020
Thumbnail Dogbey Richard Kwame in the field to test the Farmer Support App

Dogbey Richard Kwame is a MSc student at the University for Development Studies in Tamale, Ghana working on the implementation of the Farmer Support App within the Wagrinova project. He partly grew up in the countryside where he saw the struggles of smallholder farmers first hand. Most of these are water related. This motivated him to choose irrigation and drainage engineering as his specialization and to join the development of the Farmer Support App.

“A lot of the farmers in Ghana rely on rainfall but currently they do not have access to reliable forecasting information” says Kwame. The Farmer Support App (output from the WaterApps project) is a mobile application where farmers can not only access scientific forecasts but also upload their own indigenous forecast based on ecological indicators. These two are then combined into a hybrid weather forecast. With this, the farmers can prepare for upcoming weather and avoid surprises. “This is the only initiative I have seen that includes the farmer’s forecast into the product.”

Kwame sees that the farmers involved in the pilot trust the app because they notice the forecasts are reliable but more so because they are part of the project. “This project takes the farmers’ opinions into consideration which makes them feel respected”. The farmers co-creators of the app, they were and are involved during every stage of its development. The fact that the app is interactive and the input of the farmers is valued similar to the scientific forecast helps to build this trust and to improve the reliability of the forecast. Kwame expects that more ecological indicators will be included after the evaluation of the app. For example: “if the ducks flap their wings in early morning, it will rain and if you see earth worms in the evening, it may rain at dawn”, the last of which he saw with his own eyes.

Richard Kwame, explaining the Farmer Support App to female farmers in Yepalsi Village

In his part of the project, Kwame has been regularly visiting two villages since June 2020. During these visits he trains the farmers to use the app and evaluates the pilot. “I wanted to join this project because I enjoy working with rural communities very much”. He already worked in rural communities in an earlier phase of his studies. He stayed in a village for two months to explore the challenges of local farmers as part of his university curriculum. This is something he would like to continue doing in his future career, preferably in academia.

Kwame was impressed by the skills of the villagers and how quickly they took up the use of the app. “These are often people with a low education level but they managed to understand the forecasts and the use of the app very fast. The intuitive icons used to design the app helped”. The farmers in the pilot villages are now using the app and uploading their forecasts every day. “They are hoping the app will continue after the project is finished”.

One of the main obstacles Kwame sees in the upscaling of the app is the lack of internet connection in rural areas in Ghana. “The farmers need access to internet and mobile phones or tablets to be able to use the app, but a lot of people do not have access to these”. The WaterApps project provided phones and tablets to the pilot villages but it was still challenging at first to download the app in one of the villages because of the poor internet connection (they did manage in the end). Even so the farmers and Kwame, undeniably, see value in and a future for the farmer support App in Ghana.

Richard Kwame answering a question about the Farmer Support App in Nakpanzoo village

;