This is a free android-based app that provides farm-specific advice on rice management practices. Farmers, extension workers, private sector, and development agencies having smartphone or tablet with android device can use this app. To generate the guidelines, farmers need to answer questions regarding their rice-growing environment, crop management, current yield level, etc. This interview takes about 5-10 minutes.
RiceAdvice can identify the best choice of fertilizers to be purchased, their amounts and application timing, based on nutrient requirement and fertilizer prices. Using the app, farmers can also select their own target yield level based on their budget. RiceAdvice does not require Internet connection to generate the guidelines, except for updating the app.
In collaboration with AfricaRice partners, RiceAdvice was piloted in 13 sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Madagascar, Mauritania, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Togo).
Blanket advice on optimal fertilizer application rates has failed to achieve potential yield gains for crop production in much of SSA. Digital technology, such as RiceAdvice, makes it possible for farmers to receive personalized and profitable recommendations on rice management practices. RiceAdvice offers a promising avenue for increasing rice yield, production and profitability in SSA.
Benefits and impact on livelihoods at the pilot sites
Over 60,000 advices have been generated by RiceAdvice and provided to farmers in Nigeria, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Mali. Main beneficiaries are farmers. The use of this tool increases paddy yield by 0.5-1 t/ha and profits by US$100-200 per ha per growing season. Other beneficiaries are service providers, who help farmers to generate the guidelines from RiceAdvice, and to whom farmers could pay for their service (in case the service providers are from the private sector).
This technology can be extended to all the irrigated lowland rice areas in SSA, and relatively favorable rainfed lowland rice areas. Potential beneficiaries can be 3-4 million households.
The challenge is that many farmers in SSA do not have their own smartphone to access and use RiceAdvice themselves. This could be addressed by identifying suitable business models for providing RiceAdvice advice. A combination of RiceAdvice service provision with other agricultural services (e.g., seed, machinery, etc.) as a business model is under testing.
The RiceAdvice app can be freely downloaded from the Google Play Store on any Android device (smartphone or tablet). It is available in English and French, and other language versions are planned.