SOAS University of London

SOAS University of London to collaborate with Kenyatta University to create a Swahili version of the farming app FarmSmart

22 June 2020
FarmSmart App

SOAS University of London is proud to announce it has received funding from a charitable donation to collaborate with Kenyatta University, Kenya and FarmSmart to develop a Swahili version of the app. 

FarmSmart aims to equip smallholder farmers with the tools to live off any plot of land and create a world where farmers are thriving, healthy and happy. FarmSmart is an innovative app developed in partnership with leading tech consultants, Amido. The app provides tailored crop recommendations to farmers based on factors such as their location and the season. 

Currently the app is available only in English, however, the language of wider communication of key target audiences of the app is Swahili, not English. Therefore, Emma Hooper, Product Manager at FarmSmart and current SOAS PhD student, plans to translate the app into Swahili in order to increase accessibility and to reach the rural communities where this knowledge is so important. 

Working with the SOAS Africa Department and the SOAS Centre for Translation Studies, and in collaboration with Kenyatta University, the project draws on students’ expertise to translate the app into Swahili. Swahili students at both SOAS and at Kenyatta University will be able to utilise their skills on this live project which will provide excellent, CV-enhancing work experience. The student translations will be overseen by established academics at SOAS and Kenyatta University. 

Chege Githiora, Professor of Linguistics, African Languages and Literatures said: 

“FarmSmart Translation Project is a collaboration between SOAS and the Department of Kiswahili at Kenyatta University. I am delighted to work with a dedicated team of expert translators to render the farming App into Kiswahili, for the benefit of ordinary Kenyan farmers.” 

Emma Hooper, Product Manager at FarmSmart and SOAS PhD student said: 

“We are very happy to be collaborating with SOAS on this project. FarmSmart’s aim is to reach smallholder farmers globally with expert and sustainable agricultural knowledge; in order to do this, we must ensure that our content is available in multiple languages.  We hope that this partnership with SOAS and Kenyatta University to translate the app into Swahili will be the beginning of a longer-term collaboration as FarmSmart continues to expand into more countries”. 

More about FarmSmart

FarmSmart is a non-profit organisation founded in 2018 whose vision is to develop a world where smallholder farmers are thriving with high-yielding and diverse farms, easy connections to local and wider markets, great incomes and nutritious, diverse diets.

FarmSmart provides tailored crop recommendations to farmers based on factors such as their location and the season. Using a unique chatbot system, the farmer will input details such as their location, their motivation for farming, and soil type. Based on the information provided, a recommended list of crops and plots will be presented to each farmer. With a customisable template suitable for all forms of agriculture – urban gardens, livestock, fisheries and crops – it is a powerful and adaptable tool, disseminating life-impacting skills. By providing this expert knowledge based on the circumstances of each farmer, it gives smallholders a choice and encourages a shift to more diverse, highyield, climate-smart and sustainable farming methods. 

The app will ensure smallholders have easily accessible knowledge on vital farming techniques for free, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The knowledge available through the app promotes diversity, insulates against the risks of disease and soil degradation – whilst also creating a social network of farmers, enabling them to better negotiate their sales position on local and international markets. It empowers rural communities and contributes to both social justice and environmental awareness. 

Visit the FarmSmart website.