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#BusinessNews: Rural Farmers Hub’s app gives real-time advice to smallholder farmers in West Africa

Rural Farmers Hub encourages the sustained economic development of smallholder farmers. The company provides agricultural services to under-served smallholder farmers in Nigeria, some West African countries, and Namibia via its core product, Capture™, an e-Extension software which uses a proprietary algorithm and satellite data to generate real-time crop advice.

It achieves this goal through its innovative information technology solutions which can generate real-time advice delivered to farmers via text; robocall using neuro-linguistic programming or mobile apps, now made more efficient via Amazon Web Services (AWS).

“Our day-to-day activity involves developing machine learning solutions,” says Gabrial Eze, co-founder of Rural Farmers Hub. “We used to run out of memory and could only work from a limited subset of data. Another challenge was data mobility; moving and managing datasets between storage Drives for ML training activity is a difficult endeavour.”

AWS’ Sage Maker enables the customisation of built resources. “It provides a full pipeline for the development process,” he explains, “The integration possibilities with Amazon S3 for file system access also came in as a major deciding factor in choosing AWS. We used to run out of memory, but this is no longer the case, thanks to AWS.”

The company currently uses EC2, SageMaker, and S3, which has given them the platform to develop, train and build its machine learning models. “It also enables us to decentralise our engineering team. This means our engineers can work from different locations and still enjoy the same availability of computing resources,” he enthuses.

Capture™ uses remote sensing technology to provide near real-time, data-driven, and personalised crop/soil health advisory and extension service to farmers remotely via SMS, robocall, mobile, or in-person via a Village-based Agent. Capture™ generates automated advice that can cater to the needs of millions of smallholder farmers simultaneously and remotely (without human intervention) in their respective local languages, regardless of where they are based. We are helping smallholder farmers increase their yields, increasing their income by up to 80%.

“We have an opportunity to unlock fine-grain data that is critical to increasing access to crop information and reducing the risks of losing yield for smallholder farmers. It gives stakeholders a 360-degree view of the farm and resilience for the farmer,” Eze concludes. “Our proprietary technology leverages modern scientific methodology, making them backward-compatible with ordinary mobile phones.”

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