Phone app set to transform how low-income farmers in Africa invest in fertilizer


An upgrade to a mobile phone app now offers farmers across Africa even more benefits and cutting-edge fertilizer use technology

Phone appPilot work on the CABI Fertilizer Optimizer app in Uganda has shown that some farmers realized up to a seven-fold increase in yields. Using funding from the BBSRC Global Challenges Research Fund, the app has now been upgraded to make it easier to use. The new app includes the integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) practices feature, and a calibration tool that helps farmers to apply the right quantity of fertilizer to their crops.

The Fertilizer Optimizer app is designed to help resource constrained farmers to maximize the return on investment on fertilizer, based on what they can realistically afford.

The app was developed using outputs of the research conducted in 13 countries and builds on the linear programming concepts developed by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, to determine where the crop-nutrient combination generates the most optimal benefits. The tool also ensures fertilizer recommendations are made within the Integrated Soil Fertility Management framework, further ensuring cost-effectiveness for farmers.

CABI is now rolling out a program of training for additional extension workers on the use of the fertilizer optimization tools (FOT) with a target to reaching up to 1,600 more farmers in Uganda. Across Africa, over 3,000 extension workers have already been empowered to use the FOTs to advise farmers on how to maximize their profits from investments in fertilizers.

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