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Using iBeacons to Track the Distribution of Fertilizer

Agriculture Kenya

Picture Credit: Susana Secretariat

This project will pilot the use of iBeacon technology for tracking the distribution of fertilizer in small communities in rural Kenya. The research team will embed iBeacons into 10 kg bags of fertilizer, which will then be distributed to village heads approximately one month before the onset of planting. The village heads will be instructed to distribute the fertilizer to the neediest farmers in their village. The PI’s will then use the iBeacon technology to track the location of tagged bags across the households in the village. Tracking will be accomplished by having a local enumerator equipped with a reader device complete a prespecified walking route designed to pass within 20 meters (the maximum dependable signal distance of the iBeacons) of each household in the village. Tracking will occur every fourth day between the distribution of the fertilizer and planting. Misallocation of the fertilizer will be inferred by comparing the households in which the tagged bags are detected during the monitoring period with an independently gathered list of the neediest households. The project will serve as a valuable test of the viability of the iBeacon technology as a measurement tool for future evaluations intended to generate policy-relevant lessons about the types of interventions or modes of distribution that have the greatest effects on improving targeting.

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