Yezare Weather is a program that provides smallholder farmers with relevant and up to date information about the weather and the market for their specific produce. Operating on multiple platforms, the program aims to give farmers more control in the market as well as strategize and plan their production process. The program was initiated by Echnoserve Consulting, which has worked in developing rural economies for more than a decade. It is financed by Farm Africa, SNV and CCAF.
Smallholder farms produce 90% of Ethiopia’s grain but they have little say in pricing their produce. They are often short changed by agents and other middle men who capitalize on their ignorance. In addition, they don’t have the necessary long term metrological information to plan their production. Yezare provides a 10-day weather forecast and the market price in a concise manner, as can be seen below. It interacts with the farmers directly through SMS. The data is available on the website instantly. A mobile app that operates both on Android and iOS is being built to make the program more interactive.
Echnoserve acquires its’ weather information from the National Metrology Agency. It has placed informants at key grain and produce markets all over Ethiopia to get the latest prices. The pilot run of the project was a resounding success with farmers frequently calling in to offer their thanks and request additions to the program. Echnoserve was able to use this feedback productively and further customize Yezare’s interface. With every passing day, Yezare is gaining more users as word of mouth spreads. It is currently working with farmer unions and cooperatives to register new users. The process will become more automated and simple as time goes on.