Mobile app will help millions of farmers


High-tech Scots excellence will help tens of millions of farmers across Africa to solve animal health issues, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed yesterday.

Glasgow-based tech company Cojengo has teamed up with software giant Microsoft to provide innovative diagnostic tools and disease surveillance data for farmers in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania.

The VetAfrica app, developed by Cojengo, enables vets, animal health workers and rural farmers to quickly and accurately diagnose livestock illness and identify which drugs are most effective to treat disease.

With over 100 million farmers spread across thousands of square miles in East Africa, Cojengo predicts massive growth of mobile and cloud tech solutions in its African markets.

Cojengo has received support and advice from Business Gateway Glasgow, Scottish Enterprise, University of Strathclyde’s Entrepreneurial Network and the Gabriel Investment Syndicate.

Ms Sturgeon said:

“Scotland has a global reputation as an innovative nation and Cojengo has expanded its horizons internationally to help transform the lives of rural farmers on the African continent.

“Working with Microsoft, the company has embraced and tapped into the mobile revolution sweeping Africa.

“Cojengo is a shining example of a new generation of creative Scottish companies with the ambition and skills to create and grow successful businesses.”

Craig Taylor, Managing Director, Cojengo said:

“The amount of support we’ve received really helped us develop and market the VetAfrica solution, allowing us to get the app into the hands of those who need it most very quickly.

“Working in partnership with Microsoft and the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative we feel we can make a huge impact across Africa and genuinely change lives for the better”

Derrick McCourt, General Manager, Public Sector, Microsoft said:

“Microsoft in Scotland is committed to fostering innovation and talent. Our Bizspark programme nurtures and accelerates over 100 start-up businesses in Scotland.

“We have been very impressed by Cojengo who built the VetAfrica solution, with our support through the global Microsoft 4Africa initiative. We are proud to help take Scottish innovation to the global stage with smart use of technology that will improve economic growth and support the livelihoods of rural African communities.”

Bill Cameron, Business Advisor, Business Gateway Glasgow said:

“Cojengo is a tremendous example of the type of young, exciting businesses that are benefitting from a coordinated network of assistance from Scotland’s support services, including Business Gateway, Scottish Enterprise, SDI and others.

“Through its relationship with a dedicated Business Gateway growth adviser the company has accessed Business Gateway Start Up and Building Better Business grants and specialist support to help take its products to an international audience.”

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde, said:

“As a leading international technological university, with close links to business and industry, we are proud to nurture the entrepreneurial skills of our students, alumni and staff.

“The University was founded as a ‘place of useful learning’ and we are delighted to support innovative new ventures such as Cojengo – founded by graduates from our Computer and Information Sciences Department – that could improve the lives of millions of farmers in Africa.”

Mark Newlands, international sector head of technology and engineering at Scottish Enterprise said:

“Cojengo is an exciting growth company that clearly has the ambition to take its technology to global markets where not only it can achieve great business success but has the potential to transform the working lives of millions of farmers across Africa.

“It can be daunting to venture into vast new emerging markets like Africa but with the right overseas market support and a well-developed international trade strategy Scottish businesses like Cojengo have the potential to open up significant trade opportunities for the very best of Scottish technology and engineering companies.”

The Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative through which the company will actively engage in Africa’s economic development to improve its global competitiveness.

Kenya – Population: 41 million. Number of people working in agriculture: 71 per cent.

Uganda – Population: 35 million. Number of people working in agriculture: 82 per cent.

Ethiopia – Population: 82 million. Number of people working in agriculture: 80 per cent.

Tanzania – Population: 46 million. Number of people working in agriculture: 80 per cent.