The app links the farmer’s location to a soil database to determine the soil types found on a particular farm. Using that information plus the crop type determines the fertiliser the farmer should use.
A World Development Report puts average yield for maize in Nigeria at 1.2 tonnes per hectare, which according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation is a third of the global average. During a pilot of Kitovu, a yield of 3.9 tonnes per hectare was achieved.
Farmers can buy high-quality fertilisers or seedlings through the app, or use it to sell their produce. If a farmer can’t afford to buy the fertilisers or seedlings, they can pay Kitovu with their produce after harvest.
The app is free for farmers, but suppliers and produce buyers pay to use the platform. Kitovu takes a 5% commission on sales made through the platform. The platform also makes money by selling adverts which are displayed in the app. The app is aimed at farmers who can’t afford soil tests, but want increased yields, a reduction in post-harvest losses and increased income.