You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Dude, Where's My Cow? The App.

BY Rebecca Chao | Thursday, March 27 2014

If you live in Jamaica, losing a cow is serious business. Now, there's an app for that. (siwild/flickr)

About six months ago, we wrote about a new initiative in Jamaica that sought to address agricultural and livestock theft, a problem that has put a $50 million plus yearly dent in the country's economy. At that time, the civic tech nonprofit, Slashroots, had partnered with the Mona School of Business & Management at the University of the West Indies to create a new fellowship program called Code for the Caribbean; similar to Code for America, it pairs talented developers with government agencies to create tailored apps that agencies actually need. Now, that program has wrapped up and the fellows have collaborated with Jamaica's Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) to create two apps: one that allows police officers to use SMS to verify farmers' identities (and their produce) at specific roadside checkpoints and another that acts as an electronic billboard of produce stock and prices in order to fill an information gap that has often led either to agricultural overproduction or underproduction. Read More


Can Data Solve Africa's Food Problem?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, October 16 2013

Farm in Malawi (Wikipedia)

Africa is not living up to its agricultural potential. Less than a quarter of arable land in sub-Saharan Africa is being cultivated, while more than 190 million people in that region live chronically undernourished. The region is woefully less mechanized than the rest of the world, and problems like Aflatoxins impede trade, costing Africa more than $450 million in lost profits. Solving these problems requires investing in equipment and infrastructure, but often farmers cannot get the necessary bank loans because a lack of agriculture data prevents lenders from determining risk.

Read More


A 'Farmville' to Help Kyrgyz Farmers Sell Organic Crops

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, October 8 2013

Screenshot of the virtual farm

A virtual co-operative in Kyrgyzstan in its second year is providing farmers increased financial security by splitting the inherent risks of farming with the customers. Described last year as a “real-life Farmville,” ICF Farm has dropped some of the distinctive characteristics reminiscent of the popular Facebook game, perhaps for simplicity's sake. Now, instead of renting plots or bed, customers simply place orders for the desired products. In exchange for their early investment, customers are guaranteed organic food, and do not have to worry about the changing prices of the market.

Read More

How Open Source Might Help the Midwest Recover From Drought

BY Bailey McCann | Wednesday, October 24 2012

Can hackers help farmers recover from drought? Photo: Carl W. Wyckoff / Flickr

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Farmers in the drought-stricken Midwest are finishing up their harvest after a historically bad drought year. Agriculture in the United States is a high-tech industry built on precision mapping and mobile tools. Can open-source hackers help farmers bounce back? Read More