MazaoPlus+, an innovative data platform, was created by Research for Development (R4D) and piloted in Murang’a County, Kenya. It collected and shared fertilizer supply and demand data (e.g., fertilizer price, fertilizer type, etc.) among smallholder farmers and fertilizer vendors with the aim of improving market inefficiencies. MazaoPlus+ is an SMS (Short Message Service)/USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) -based data platform where vendors routinely update their stock fertilizers, allowing farmers to “ping” the system quickly to discover who is selling what and at what price.
Fertilizer is considered one of the primary means to improve short and medium-term agricultural productivity, supporting the aim of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2.3 to “double agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers…through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs [e.g., fertilizer]…” Equipping farmers with access to timely and actionable fertilizer data with MazaoPlus+ improved their ability to increase their crop yields, and potentially their income and financial security. Suppliers in the fertilizer sector were supported to make more informed, real-time decisions about future supply efforts to more efficiently meet demand, helping to boost marketing efforts and revenues.
This project addressed SDG 2- Zero hunger. Four key findings emerged from this project:
Farmers in the pilot area were using the service and found it useful;
Users indicated adding additional inputs (e.g., animal feed, pesticides, etc.) to MazaoPlus+ would be beneficial;
DAP, N.P.K 23, CAN, and UREA were the most queried fertilizers in advance of planting and top dressing seasons - information that could be useful to government officials and distributors to improve fertilizer supply issues, and;
The average fertilizer prices were nearly the same throughout the project.
The sustainability of MazaoPlus+ was supported through data champions, an open data portal, geographic scale-up, and product scale-up.
Disclaimer: As many of the links are external, some links may not work.