ICT use in Agriculture in Kenya
ICT in Kenya is growing super fast. Statistically, every adult in Kenya has a mobile phone and more than 80% can access mobile money. This has transformed the country in terms of economic capacity by enabling the free flow of communication, information and money. Techpreneurs have come up with long-lasting solutions that solve huge problems experienced in this part of the world…..
This is the biggest thing in the ICT space in the world; mobile money, a first from Kenya and leaving top techies around the world in awe. MPESA has transformed lives in Kenya, socio-economically, especially to the rural poor who can receive small amounts of money from their relatives working in urban areas to invest in their farms. This flow of financing makes a huge difference since the farmer can liaise with market operators kilometers away making business flow much faster and smoother.
MPESA and equity bank have come with an innovation, MKESHO, which is a mobile banking /microfinancing solution that can help many unbanked people access basic financial services like loans, deposits, savings, all this without having a bank account.
All these initiatives have helped in getting the much-needed funds to the most remote but productive areas and have improved rural livelihoods very significantly
This is a Kenyan agribusiness software solution that seeks to provide delivers necessary information for Kenyan farmers, thereby helping farmers and agropreneurs improve their productivity and increasing their bottom line. Their main application is an SMS solution given most farmers are not connected to the internet yet .
mFarm was found by three ladies at the @iHubNairobi, the Kenyan Silicon Valley , with the main objective of information dissemination.
On their website you can see testimonies of users of the mFARM SMS app. In the information age, these kind of innovations are just priceless.
Kenya is a huge exporter of fresh milk and milk byproducts. This is mainly due to the emphasis of quality in the value chain that leaves us with a superior product. To maintain this kind of standards, the dairy farmers need to access information on their finger tips and that’s where iCow comes in.
This is another SMS app focused on giving the dairy farmer unbiased information concerning the cows’ gestation period, vet info, record keeping and the world’s first cow calender.
Yet another mobile phone innovation targeting the small scale farmer with information, advice and support. Personally I use m-Kilimo and they have helped me with invaluable information when I need it.
You just call them with your query and if the receipient is not qualified in that field , he/she liases with another researcher/agronomist who is capable of handling your matter. It’s just amazing and it’s free.
Technology is a major pillar in our vision 2030 and we seem to be moving in the right pace though more could be done don’t you think? Feel free to share your wise thoughts …
The adoption of high yielding seeds, i.e. certified seeds and clean seed is taking shape at a high rate in Chepkorio Division.
A woman farmer recently planted 3 bags of 50Kgs and harvested a total of 14 bags of 110Kgs, a bumper harvest as per the lady.
Mrs Sawe (pictured) says that the crops were very health and needed less maintenance, especially in terms of disease control. She declared that she will never use the deteriorated seeds which she usually borrows from neighbours or saves after harvesting her ware.
“Nimefunguka macho na sitawahi kutumia hii mbegu yetu ya 6-Choge, mazao niliyopata imenipa direction, sahi nitaweza kusomesha watoto wangu.” Mrs Sawe
We just concluded the ToT refresher training, now empowered to be not just ToTs but change agents.
Topics covered were:
Good agricultural practices such as crop rotation, seed varieties, fertilizer quantities, use of clean seed, among others
Use of mobile application platforms
The area of great interest was the reflection of how the ICT project has impacted on the farmers in the region, asked to outline, the thing that came out first was done videos played during mobile ICT trainings have acted as great change agents, the ICT project also partnered with Trellis to carry out demonstration plots in various locations in the region, this was another strong point, text messages sent to farmers were working well, the fourth point was the issue of farmers who had trained at the ICT Center and read success stories of farmers elsewhere via the internet, articles or newspapers embarking to farm on greater pieces of land, the other one was that market price information queried via the mobile phone was also working well for some farmers. Perhaps what captured my attention most was the issue of youths sourcing for farming information on the internet and as well sharing ideas. This greatly interested me and also acted as a lesson learnt and a road to follow.
We appreciate our change agents and hope that event as we are on the last laps of the pilot ICT project in the region, they will not tire to change our farmers to adopt the new technologies, increase yields and eventually increase their incomes, this will leave the farmers in an improved livelihood.
we greatly appreciate the fact that you attended our recent trainings in large numbers. This greatly encourages us as your partners.
We wish you a fabulous Easter even as you prepare for the planting season.
we will close the ICT Center as from Friday and open on Tuesday. The mobile ICT trainings will resume as from Friday next week, in addition we will finish the training on Irish potato collection center management, production and marketing of potatoes on 2nd and 3rd in Kitany and kaptakwa CBOs. We look forward to meeting and interacting with a large number of farmers.
Our Partners, Director and other staff greet you.
Happy Easter our partners, staff and beloved farmers.
IICD in partnership with ADS North Rift partnered in order to establish an ICT Center for farmers in Chepkorio, Elgeyo marakwet County in Kenya. Farmers in the region get information on production and marketing. Production information entails good agricultural practices, high yielding seeds, among others. Trainings are done through online searches of web portals, multimedia instruction materials, agriculture information centers, print media, radio/TV programs and demonstration plots commonly refereed as Farmer Field schools.
Through the above efforts, farmers have now embraced the importance of ICT and are using the information to increase their volumes. Farmers are now moving from the use of degenerated Irish Potato seeds to the use of certified seeds. Farmers associations of farmers have been formed and farmers now use ICT in management as well as sourcing for seeds. The certified seeds are sourced by the farmer association through ICT. Through linkages, the farmer association is now establishing partnership with ZEVAN, who import high yielding seeds from Netherlands. These seeds will be a boost to the existing certified seeds in the area which have already been booked by farmers in the region.
Farmers source for certified seeds within the region via sms or calls while the farmer association management source for the certified seeds through web portals and emails.
ICT in agriculture development is slowly taking shape and becoming a reality in the region. It is slow but very sure. We anticipate increased volumes and improved livelihoods by the end of the year.
Lack of certified seed has forced farmers to recycle seed planted the previous season, spreading diseases such as bacterial wilt and other viral infections. Lack of certified seed has forced farmers to recycle seed planted the previous season, spreading diseases such as bacterial wilt and other viral infections. More than 95.6 per cent of all potato seed planted by farmers in Kenya are transferred from the previous season. Out of the 60,000 metric tonnes of certified seed required to meet the country’s demand, research institutions and certified seed producers can only produce 2,640 metric tonnes of quality seed. It is therefore very difficult for farmers in most parts of the country to get good quality seed for planting. What makes the problem worse: Although 90 per cent of farmers store their own seed, only four per cent of them have received training on seed storage.
Farmers in Chepkorio have taken the lead not only in positive selection of seeds but as well in the production of certified seeds. Through trainings and other interventions received from ADS North Rift, formerly CCS, more than 5 groups now have certified seeds awaiting sale to other farmers in the region. These are Kabiemit, Nyaru, Mosop, Marichor and Kitany/Kaptarakwa, all members of Chepkorio Potato Farmers association.
Farmers in the region are advised to take the advantage of the nearness of the available seeds and spread the gospel of CERTIFIED SEEDS. A farmer planted 3, 50Kg bags of certified Tigoni seeds and harvested 14, 100 KG Bags of clean seed, she has now stored it well, after being trained on good storage practices of commercial potatoes, awaiting favorable prices in the market, why not you. let us all adopt the new technology and realize change, real change.
Anglican Development Services, in partnership with other stakeholders has established an ICT center in Nyaru to help farmers get access to current information on production and marketing. It has also established collection centers to help farmers not sell individually hence gain bargaining power and as well fetch good prices.
Trainings are done on daily basis.