iCow: Kenyans now manage their herds via mobile phone

As an organic farmer outside of Nairobi, Su Kahumbu could see the challenge that her cattle-herding neighbours had in handling the expenses of their most precious assets, the female cow.

If the cattle owner didn’t pay attention, he might miss the very brief window of time when his cow went into heat, missing a chance at expanding his herd. Some cattle men wasted their money on the wrong kind of feed, others were selling their cattle off at below the market rate, and yet all of them had the tool in their hands to get information: a cell phone.

So, Ms Kahumbu came up with iCow, a mobile-phone application that allows herders to register each individual cow, and to receive individualised text messages on their mobile phones, including advice for veterinary care and feeding schedules, a database of experts, and updated market rates on cattle prices. It’s an example of how high technology can help out even in the low-tech business of agriculture, in which 80 percent of Kenyans make a living — via redwolf.newsvine.com

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