Ignitia aids farmers in West Africa with weather prediction

Ignitia, a high-tech social enterprise focusing on tropical weather forecasting, recently joined a U.N.-sponsored program to alert West African farmers to local weather trends with SMS texts.

The Business Call to Action (BCtA), a global network and an initiative of the United Nations Development Program, strives to reduce poverty and improve lives through inclusive business models. Its current goal for the region is to deliver reliable, targeted and low-cost tropical weather forecasts via text messages to 1.2 million small-scale farmers in West Africa by the end of 2017.

“With iska, smallholder farmers receive the vital information they need to mitigate risk and create resilience. In doing so, farmers are able to increase yields and improve their livelihoods, year after year,” Ignitia CEO Liisa Petrykowska said. “We are pleased to have our inclusive business recognized by the Business Call Action and look forward to working with the BCtA and our fellow members.”

Ignitia Ghana introduced Iska Weather in 2014 to help farmers make informed decisions on timing for weather-dependent activities, such as planting, fertilizing, chemical spraying and harvesting.

According to Ignitia, its forecast technology in the tropics delivers 84 percent accuracy on average in West Africa, increasing farmers' potential annual crop yields.

West Africa stands to benefit enormously from the collaboration as its farmers have traditionally experienced comparatively low crop yields. Iska is currently available to 12 million West African subscribers, with the ability to expand to 14 additional countries.

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