DARAL Technologies — Nose rings for traceability

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Cattle tracking prevents disease epidemic and theft

PROBLEM “Millions of CFA francs were lost to equine disease and caused by cattle theft.” Amadou has always strived to benefit those with less. “My ardent desire to take on challenges were always close to my heart,” he says. As a tradesman, himself, who had worked in different parts of the food production industry, he knew firsthand the challenges associated with the agricultural sector.

He was particularly struck by the enormous losses of livestock due to disease and conflict: “Millions of CFA francs were lost to equine disease and caused by cattle theft,” he explains, citing Ministry sources. “This happens all over Africa,” he adds. “Sometimes, this results in deadly fights between ethnic groups.”

Amadou sought to learn as much as he could and, while taking a computer science class, he realised that ICT had the power to benefit all development activities. “I immediately asked myself why not create something with this tool to help our compatriots with the problems they are confronted with,” he explains. “How can ICT aid our compatriots against the failures that result in enormous losses in their sectors?”

For Amadou, DARAL Technologies represents another step in his lifelong journey — “I would say that DARAL is a child’s dream that I am in the process of realising,” he shares. It has not been easy, but his dedication to his mission has never wavered.

SOLUTION

DARAL supports farmers in the fight against livestock illness and theft.

With their determination, Amadou and his team have turned DARAL Technologies into the place to improve livestock situations. DARAL has built a system that supports farmers in the fight against livestock illness and theft, by allowing them to identify and trace their cattle herds. DARAL inserts a trackable nose ring into each of the cattle in a herd, so that different stakeholders in the value chain can communicate through SMS alerts and notifications — for example, knowing when different herds have moved from place to place. In this way, DARAL has been tailored for individuals or organisations that are looking to buy or sell livestock, and has allowed them to secure their transactions.

IMPACT

“DARAL’s alert system helped prevent the risks of proliferation and sales of infected meat on the market. Lives were saved and, at least once, a catastrophe was avoided.”

Though still in its pilot phase, DARAL is already working with 10 villages in southern Senegal, a total of 2,553 farmers. “And this number grows every week,” says Mansour Fall, Amadou’s deputy. DARAL is also starting to gain traction in the field, with partners such as the Ministry of Agriculture promoting and adopting the nose ring technology in its herds.

Besides all of the impressive pilot statistics, Mansour cites a third, but no less important impact of the system: the unity that DARAL brings to the farmers who are now centred on a common platform. “The government — specifically the Ministry of Agriculture — no longer faces a multitude of disparate movements and associations,” he shares. “Now they have a single interface with the world of farming.”But what does all of this mean? Better communication allows for faster, more integrated approaches to farming. “When five cows died after having been bitten by a rabid dog,” Mansour describes, “DARAL’s alert system helped prevent the risks of proliferation and sales of infected meat on the market. Lives were saved and a catastrophe was avoided.” In such situations, DARAL’s ability to trace sources prevents mass panic, economic loss, and even death.

BUSINESS MODEL

“The new business model would allow DARAL to offer its services to agricultural insurance companies.”

DARAL Technologies is currently funded by support from the Fonds de Développement du Service Universel des Télécommunications (FDSUT), an innovation fund created by the Senegalese telecom regulator. With the end of those funds approaching, the company is currently searching for new external financing for the short-term, and is amidst development of a new business model for the long-term.

Thinking about the different actors in the space, Mansour shares their vision for the next few years: “The new business model would allow DARAL to offer its services to agricultural insurance companies. In exchange, DARAL would place nose rings and deliver membership cards to farmers.”

WHAT’S NEXT?

“We are in the process of creating a national register of farmers as well as the livestock to ensure reliable and continuous statistics in the industry.”

While building up a business model to ensure sustainability, Amadou is thinking big aboutthe company’s future: “We are in the process of creating a national register of farmers and livestock to ensure reliable and continuous statistics in the industry,” he shares. “ This will allow the government good political protection for the sector, including the ability to intervene when needed with speed.”

Amadou also has high hopes to better engage the country’s young people, offering them work opportunities across the the sector. Accordingly, he is also looking for ways to expand DARAL through the whole value chain, and throughout the whole country.

LESSONS LEARNED

Young leaders and innovators should be full of humility and perseverance.

The story of DARAL Technologies is one of perseverance and immense dedication. Amadou took a big risk when he started DARAL, investing all of his savings and living on US$0.50 /day for the last five years. He stresses the importance of courage,citing his own decision to leave his lucrative business and devote himself wholeheartedly to DARAL.

“At one point, I had a choice between two things: returning to Mauritania and continuing my business to provide for my needs and that of my first suitor for marriage, or pursuing this project until it succeeded.” Undoubtedly the harder road, Amadou made a choice and has not looked back since.

“To the young leaders of projects, I would ask them to arm themselves with courage, humility, objectivity and perseverance,” he shares. “Courage that will lead you to a decision.Humility because sometimes people will underestimate you. Objectivity, and perseverance, for without it we rarely achieve the results we are looking for.”

Culled from the report: Innovate for Agriculture, Young ICT Entrpreneurs Overcoming Challenges and Transforming Agriculture, CTA(2016)

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