LBS MBA Creates Weather Prediction Tool for African Farmers


London Business School’s (LBS) MBA program is home to various launch points for social impact ventures, in particular through the Global Social Venture Competition.

MBA student Tom Vanneste participated in last year’s competition with his venture Kukua, which provides rural farmers in Africa with a weather prediction tool.

One of the stations was unveiled on the LBS campus on April 22, 2016 in honor of International Earth Day, and with the goal of raising public awareness of climate change. Data from the LBS location will soon be available online.

Kukua’s weather stations are powered by solar energy.  They employ technology that sends SMS messages to users containing data on precise weather conditions. Vanneste said:

 “Farmers are now making decisions without confidence in what the weather will be like tomorrow, the day after, and next week… Traditional weather knowledge, reliable for centuries, has been rendered useless due to the impact of climate change on weather patterns. Planting seeds at the right time can account for 25% of a crop’s yield, but farmers no longer know when to plan, what to plant, and how to plant.”

There are currently 20 Kukua stations in Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Mozambique and Nigeria. Vanneste plans to lead the installation of another 70 in Nigeria that will be funded with assistance from Foreca, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, and the European Union.

Vanneste hopes that the social impact of Kukua will be felt over an ever wider area. He said, “Our vision is to expand Kukua across Africa and to develop products that could improve the livelihoods and food security of even more smallholder farmers.”


About the Author

Maggie Boccella

Maggie Boccella, a lifelong resident of Philadelphia, is a freelance writer, artist and photographer. She has consulted on various film and multimedia projects, and she also serves as a juror for the city's annual LGBTQIA Film Festival.

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