New app helps farmers obtain info quickly

By Kauthar Gool
Johannesburg, 24 May 2018

The Agricultural Research Council (ARC) has introduced an app to help bridge the information dissemination gap between research, farmers and extension workers.

The ARC Hub was introduced at Nampo Harvest Day, a three-day May expo focused on the farming industry.

The ARC Hub will make information access more convenient for farmers.
The ARC Hub will make information access more convenient for farmers.

The app provides farmers with relevant information, as well as access to ARC experts at their fingertips. It further aims to bridge the institutional divide in the farming industry.

This is according to Sandile Ngcamphalala, manager of advisory services at ARC.

He adds the app was created by ARC in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology, as well as developers from mLab Southern Africa.

"The project was headed by Dr Yolisa Pakela-Jezile, senior manager at ARC, with her team responsible for advisory services and training."

According to Ngcamphalala, the app provides users with information on animal production, plant production, animal health, plant health and agro-processing, among other issues.

"This information represents all areas of research in ARC, including vegetables and ornamental crops, deciduous fruits, tropical and sub-tropical crops, grains and industrial crops, soil climate, water, veterinary science, plant protection and animal production.

"The app further gives users information on training programmes provided by ARC for which farmers and extension officers can participate and books that can be purchased in ARC."

He explains extension officers are the intermediaries between the research and farmers. These officers function as facilitators and communicators, helping farmers make decisions and ensure appropriate knowledge is applied to obtain positive results.

Ngcamphalala notes the ARC Hub allows for three main users: farmers, ARC experts and extension officers.

Farmers and extension officers can access all the information and contact ARC researchers or experts for further assistance, as the app allows for sharing of early warning information to better handle risk to the sector, he says.

"The ARC Hub requires that all users register themselves as a requirement in order to allow ARC to improve support by sharing relevant information as guided by the user profiles in terms of location and types of enterprises."

He adds the free app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store and also accessed online at