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Using SMS texts to provide weather forecasts for small farmers in West Africa
More than 2.8 billion people 40 percent of the world's population live in the tropics, where the majority derive their livelihoods from small-scale farming. The yields of small-scale farmers in sub-Saharan Africa are the lowest in the world, causing food insecurity, continued poverty and stagnant economic growth. It is estimated that between 20 percent and 80 percent of annual yields are lost due to weather.
Ignitia, a high-tech social enterprise, has joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA) with a commitment to deliver reliable, targeted, low-cost tropical weather forecasts via text messages. Ignitia's forecasting model creates reliable, GPS-specific weather forecasts in two-day, monthly and seasonal forecasts increments which are sent to customers. Launched in Ghana in 2014, iska has proven to be 84 percent accurate compared with global forecasts, such as those found on the BBC or CNN, which only achieve 39 percent accuracy in West Africa. The company is planning to reach 1.2 million small-scale farmers in West Africa by 2017.