Agriculture Applications Deployed

Google Trader
Google Trader helps buyers and sellers to find each other.  Users can broadcast a message by sending an SMS, allowing them, for example, to list the products that they are selling or to find space on a truck to take their goods to market. more...
Farmer's Friend (Powered by Google SMS)
Farmer's Friend (Powered by Google SMS) offers farmers an affordable and targeted way to search for agricultural tips through a SMS-based database.  Keywords in the query are matched against the database and the farmer receives a reply with a tip related to his or her query terms. more...

Google Trader
This application was developed in response to discussions with Uganda's rural producers and consumers where it was revealed that they face challenges linking with markets. Transport networks are inefficient, and knowledge of market conditions, even those nearby, is lacking for most small producers. To address this need, AppLab deployed a simple market system for buyers and sellers to find one another with fewer transaction costs by using the mobile phone to list their offerings and search for those with whom they are likely to transact business. Akin to a classified ad system or bulletin board, we believe this application will increase transparency and enable small producers to realize higher prices when dealing with larger traders, thus increasing their incomes. Google Trader is primarily in English but will respond to the primary commands in three local languages.

Our initial pilots of Google Trader in banana-producing regions in Western Uganda confirmed the appeal to small producers, who told us they feel more confident about their ability to reach buyers and receive better compensation for their produce. We believe widespread adoption will lead to lower transaction costs, greater efficiencies and higher price transparency across various markets, bringing increased incomes to smallholder farmers. It may also increase efficiencies and lower transaction costs for other traders and buyers in the value chain, enabling them to save time and transport costs, which results in greater wealth for all involved, especially the producers who tend to be among the poorest.
To view Google's description and instructions for using Google Trader, click here.
Farmers' Friend (Powered by Google SMS)

To address the information needs of the farming community, AppLab and its partners piloted Farmer�s Friend, which provides crop and livestock pest and disease control information, planting, storage and harvesting tips, as well as regional weather forecasts. The technical farming information is provided by Busoga Rural Open Source Development Initiative (BROSDI,, a local NGO that works with a network of farmers to collect and share local farming techniques. Weather reports are provided on a daily and monthly basis by the Government of Uganda�s Department of Meteorology (DOM) within the Ministry of Water and Environment. Answers to common questions are provided in English

Throughout the development of this service, we have been able to involve more than three thousand rural Ugandans, many of them farmers, in continued market research to understand the usefulness of this content. We have integrated their feedback into the product and will continue to do so. Scaling the application nationally across Uganda will, we believe, lead to increased knowledge of farming techniques and more informed agricultural decision-making based on access to weather information. This in turn can translate into improved productivity and output, and result in increased income and food security for the farmers it was designed to benefit.
To try out an interactive simulator of Farmer's friend, click here.