Kenya gamifies climate change to help farmers

Friday November 29 2019

etp

People wade in flood waters after heavy rains that caused landslides, in the village of Sebit, West Pokot County, Kenya November 24, 2019. PHOTO | REUTERS 

By REUTERS

Kenya is gamifying climate change—challenging farmers to guess the rain in a bid to reach a remote audience with agricultural advice and ensure yields stay steady as climates change.

Created by The Mediae Company, the "Let it rain" challenge launches on February 1, when farmers will be free to take to their mobile phones to predict what day the rainy season will start.

Not only will winners receive a cash prize of up to Ksh100,000 ($1,000), but every entrant will gain free access to iShamba, a farmers' information service.

Shamba means "farm" in Swahili and the online service—which already has 300,000 subscribers—offers advice on everything from pests to plants.

Project coordinator Sophie Rottmann said Mediae came up with the game after working with farmers on a popular farm makeover reality show— Shamba Shape Up—which regularly draws 5 million viewers after a decade on air.

"One of the key issues is that they never know when the rains are coming and, as a result, they will plant too early or harvest too late," said Rottmann.