Extension services for farmers go digital
Livestock farmers in Kenya can now access essential extension services from their mobile phones following the unveiling of the ‘Last Mile’ app.
The initiative is an integrated, solutions-driven programme seeking to address crucial animal health challenges by making animal medical resources available in hard-to-reach areas.
The initiative targets ruminants, such as sheep, goats along with cattle, and poultry.
Established by Boehringer Ingelheim, a pharmaceutical company, with support from the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed) and funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Last Mile aims to bridge current gaps in access, availability, and awareness of animal healthcare solutions for smallholder farmers in Africa.
“The Last Mile initiative is an important part of the company’s vision and aims to support our communities as well as improve both human and animal health,” says Emilie Veillat, Key Account Manager and Last Mile application lead, The Veterinary Public Health Center at Boehringer Ingelheim.
The programme’s mission is to create long-lasting partnerships with local farming community to establish and drive sustainable businesses integrated into the wider national economy.
It was initially launched in Kenya, and other key markets throughout Africa including Cameroon, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia, with a plan to expand in Tanzania.
With the app, field teams are able to manage their day-to-day activities and work more effectively with farmers, retailers and veterinarians.
The objective for rolling out the app is to monitor activities accurately, collect data, and measure impact and reach of the initiative, as well as to improve the understanding and knowledge about the smallholder farmer sector for better-informed decision-making in the future.
In addition, the app has proven critical in the current times of social distancing and heightened safety measures for regular and easy interactions with all stakeholders.
Some features include a calendar section, farm and retail visit sections, training section covering diseases and product information as well as surveys to gather specific information about the target market.