SMARTseeds: information services for vegetable farmers in Indonesia
The project SMARTseeds will implement a financially sustainable information service that supports 100.000 chili, tomato and cucumber farmers to increase their production, income, and food security and to reduce the inputs of water, fertilizer and pesticides. The ITC Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation of the University of Twente is knowledge partner in the project, which is financed through Geodata for Agriculture and Water (G4AW), a Dutch programme aimed at improving food security in developing countries by using satellite data. The Netherlands Space Office (NSO) is executing this programme, commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Weather, advisory and market information services will be provided to smallholder farmers. Various other B2B services will generate additional revenues such that subscription fees for smallholder farmers can be kept affordable. The services can easily be extended for other types of crops or implemented to other regions in Indonesia.
The changing climate gives farmers difficulties in making and consistently using a crop plan. Daily and seasonal weather forecast will help farmers to choose a suitable crop and variety depending on water availability, which will produce best under the given circumstances and to mitigate the pests and plant diseases related to weather. Information on soil nutrients, estimated price of commodities, and new technology on fertilizer and seeds will help farmers choose the most profitable crop. SMARTseeds services will be distributed via interactive SMS and mobile phone app.
Target user group
The primary users are chili, tomato and cucumber smallholders in 14 regencies in 3 provinces in Indonesia. All farmers are smallholders with average farmland around 0.5 to 1.0 ha/farmer. Vegetable farming in these three provinces in Indonesia has been highly affected by changes in climate, weather patterns and availability of water. It also resulted in changes in the pest and disease profile in farming areas.
The project will assess several business propositions, primarily to farmers, but also to B2B clients such as input suppliers, farmer groups, vegetable buyers, government extension agencies, NGOs, MFI‘s and insurance providers. The services will be delivered by paid SMS or a mobile phone app based on a subscription fee to both farmers and B2B clients, while B2B clients using a computer or laptop with internet access may also use a web portal.
The SMARTseeds consortium consists of seven public and private organizations, each with their own expertise:
- ICCO South East Asia (Lead partner, Indonesia)
- East West Seed Indonesia - EWINDO (Supplier of climate adapted seeds and extension services, Indonesia)
- University of Twente - ITC Faculty (Satellite image processing, service development, integration of soil information, The Netherlands)
- Akvo (farm survey, Indonesia)
- Bogor Agricultural University - IPB (Weather and seasonal forecast, farm advice on fertilizer and pesticides, Indonesia)
- Nelen & Schuurmans (Data platform, The Netherlands)
- TTC Mobile (SMS service and app for farm advice, The Netherlands)