iCow enables livestock farmers in Kenya to get the best practices in cow and chicken rearing and to accurately track their cows’ gestation period via mobile phone. Farmers register their cows and their insemination date by SMS short code, and then receive periodic SMS prompts timed with vital days during the gestation period. The service also sends weekly SMS messages to subscribers with information and tips on breeding, diet, nutrition, health, illness and disease, milk production efficiency, and other best dairy practices.
– The several services in iCow are:
— Kalenda-Cow Calendar: a cow gestation calendar, which sends a farmer timely important messages about his cow upon registering it.
— iMashauri: weekly prompts that give farmers important tips on farming best practices.
– – Vetenari: a tool to find the nearest Vet or Artificial Inseminator.
Intellectural Property Type
User Provision Model
Distributions to Date Status
iCow has a database of 600,000 farmers and over 60,000 active iCow users in all 47 counties in Kenya.
iCow will track each cow individually and allow the farmers to maintain all relevant information specific to each cow. It will give the farmer access to: - - A comprehensive Gestation Calendar customized to each heifer and cow based on the Date of Service - - A calf calendar to ensure calves are reared following best practices and are thus able to reach optimum genetic potential - - A customizable Immunization Calendar - - Health Information Services - - Diet Information Services - - Nutrition Information Services - - Illness and Disease Information Services - - Calf Records iCow will be accessed by farmers all through their mobile phones or the internet. To Register on iCow Simply Dial *285# and follow menu.
iCow has set up a customer care center that registered users can call to provide feedback and receive live advice in several languages.
Versioning cycle unknown.
Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters
- iCow impact study (2012) - - 82% of farmers who joined seven months earlier are still on the platform; - - All claimed they have benefitted from being on iCow; - - 42% farmers report increased incomes; - - 56% of those with increased incomes are due to increased milk yield ranging from 1.5 to 3 litres per lactating animal; - - Other benefits include: Reduced spending on commercial feed due to knowledge on homemade production; Increased markets and incomes for livestock and livestock by products; Increased customers reported by AI providers; Reduction of animal illness and mortality due to efficient access to relevant experts; Storage of feed in preparation for drought and dry conditions; Planting of forage thus planning before purchasing a dairy cow; Healthier livestock, including calves.
Vetted Performance Status
Complementary Technical Systems
Academic Research and References
Compliance with regulations
iCow won Apps4Africa in 2011, the Vision 2030 Award for agriculture in 2013 and runner up for the Africa Innovation Prize in 2013. Expert advisors have expressed concerns regarding iCow model, which could not be sustainable in the long term. An eventual evolution/update project could be too hard and long.