Springfields partnered with Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and a local NGO Besipae. This project focused on providing seaweed farming cultivation best practices, weather updates and market price for seaweed availability by connecting farmers to our team of professionals tasked with sharing knowledge and information with them. There were 200 farmers who received weekly SMS updates directly to their hand phones. This model is designed to improve farmers’ lives by enabling them to receive information to improve yields and have broader access to lucrative markets. The project ran from 2011 – 2012.
Farmers received weekly guidance via SMS on the proper and best method of farming seaweeds. Specifically, the learner was able to identify the factors in the selection of a suitable site, prepare the farm site and culture materials as well as implementing the optimal techniques for maximizing yields and reducing wasted harvests through disease and incorrect practices.
The farmer received a regular forecast in his or her mobile phone by an automatically generated text message, tailored to the location by GPS coordinates. When needed, an early warning was issued for severe weather and threat of natural disaster. Farmers are directly dependent on tidal surges and high waves and rainfall for growing, maintenance and harvesting of their crops.
Farmers were provided with up-to-date market prices for West Timor Seaweed. The prices were updated via a central database by data collectors at various markets, and offered transparency of prices inside the market that the Farmers located in the isolated village of Sulamu lack. These prices were then frequently sent to the mobile phones of the farmers via SMS. Farmers knew the prevailing prices and hence negotiate from the vantage point of knowledge thereby increasing incomes.