Software Development

Posted by Philippe Saner 1 31st Mar 2023

Cotton4Impact (C4I) is a digitalization project that aims to increase cotton yield at the farm level through timely and relevant information on crop production and protection. The project closely relates to the operational activities of Alliance Ginneries Ltd in Tanzania and Zambia and Ivoire Coton in Côte d’Ivoire. The crop cycle of the Northern hemisphere (Ivory Coast) and Southern hemisphere (Tanzania, Zambia) defines the timing for the harvesting, buying and ginning processes of the cotton. In Tanzania and Zambia the cotton planting starts in November to February and the harvest of cotton is in May to August. In Ivory Coast the cotton planting starts in May to July and the harvest of cotton is in October to January.

Past achievements

Despite initial delays the C4I consortium is of the opinion that the project has made substantial progress over the past year and we report the project as being on track. The project was launched successfully in May 2022 and managed to gain a shared understanding on the current level of digitalization for the consortium members. The consortium has made important progress in the discussion and advancing the joint understanding of how C4I can be implemented in the different context of East- and West Africa. In December 2022 we concluded that the implementation of the solution will advance for each of the Local Entities separately over the upcoming phases of the project. As we find ourselves well into the new year and already half way through the official project time we are in the process of now preparing the software development.

Outlook

For Côte d’Ivoire the digitalization project underway with the software development company B2M (Tunesia) developed the mobile application «DigitAgri», which integrates with the ERP system. In the second half of March 2023, a pilot is planned to test DigitAgri in the field with 26 agricultural advisors in one of the cotton producing areas which has about 4,000 registered smallholder farmers. In total, about 40,000 smallholder farmers are registered with Ivoire Coton and are spread over approximately 900 villages. During the project, it is expected that 1,000 core farmers will receive SMS messages (about one core farmer per village). B2M was tasked to develop additional modules to Digit Agri as set out in the Terms of References (TOR) regarding sending and receiving messages on weather forecasts, capacity-building and traceability.

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For Tanzania and Zambia Alliance Ginneries Ltd selected the software developer Silicon Valley Solutions Ltd (SVS, Kenya) and their mobile application «FarmApp». Silicon Valley Solutions was tasked to develop additional modules to FarmApp as set out in the Terms of References (TOR) regarding sending and receiving messages on weather forecasts, capacity-building and traceability. So far, 71 staff and over 18'000 farmers have been already registered and trained on the system.

We are very much looking forward to this next phase of the project and thank all parties involved for their continued support and efforts.

Kindly,

Philippe Saner