Farm­ers to get real time info in new app

The plat­form will fa­cil­i­tate ac­cess of timely in­for­ma­tion on best agro­nomic prac­tices di­rect on farm­ers’ mo­bile phones

The Star (Kenya) - - News | Business - VIC­TOR AMADLA @it­samadala

The Kenya Agri­cul­tural and Live­stock Re­search Or­ga­ni­za­tion has part­nered with Liq­uid Tele­com Kenya to launch an e-service plat­form for farm­ers.

This is good news es­pe­cially to small­holder farm­ers who have for many years made poor farm­ing de­ci­sions, hence in­cur­ring huge losses. The plat­form will pro­vide them with ac­cess of timely in­for­ma­tion about best farm­ing prac­tices for their ge­o­graph­i­cal ar­eas di­rect on their mo­bile phones, hence in­creas­ing their yields.

The e-service plat­form is com­ing on the back­drop of a re­cent re­port by the Food and Agri­cul­ture Or­gan­i­sa­tion that in­di­cates that third world coun­tries lost up to 30 per cent of pro­duc­tion due to poor in­for­ma­tion.

To en­able the new mo­bile service, Liq­uid Tele­com Kenya has in­stalled a faster and high per­for­mance data-car­ry­ing tech­nique, of­fer­ing up to 100Mbps across 42 Kalro branches and head­quar­ters.

‘’We are now able to com­mu­ni­cate in real-time through our IP phones, equipped with video cam­eras, re­ceive data from the field promptly, process it and chan­nel it to the re­spec­tive mo­bile app por­tals,” Kalro ICT di­rec­tor Boni­face Akuku said.

Be­fore this part­ner­ship, Kalro used to spend more time and in­cur huge trav­el­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion costs to de­liver in­for­ma­tion for a re­search cen­tre to the head­quar­ters’ data cen­tre for pro­cess­ing and dis­sem­i­na­tion to farm­ers.

Ad­di­tion­ally, Kalro has rolled out three mo­bile apps for poul­try farm­ing, dry­land crop and pasture seed.

Pasture Seed Pro­duc­tion app is meant to en­hance the pro­duc­tiv­ity of drought tol­er­ant crops in a coun­try where 80 per cent of land falls in arid and semi-arid cat­e­gory.

The Kalro In­dige­nous Chicken app on the other hand is to of­fer farm­ers in­for­ma­tion on feeds, both as va­ri­eties and avail­abil­ity, dis­eases and breeds. This is ex­pected to in­crease the coun­try’s pro­duc­tiv­ity from the cur­rent es­ti­mate of 32 mil­lion birds.

“Through these apps, we aim at em­pow­er­ing young farm­ers, who can now eas­ily start farm­ing poul­try to raise their po­ten­tial and in­crease their in­comes as cap­tured by the sec­tor’s driv­ing strat­egy, the Agri­cul­tural Sec­tor Devel­op­ment Strat­egy,” Kalro di­rec­tor gen­eral Eliud Kireger said.

“Liq­uid Tele­com recog­nises the role of tech­nol­ogy in re­search, gen­er­a­tion and cre­ation of new knowl­edge, which is vi­tal in na­tional devel­op­ment,” Liq­uid Tele­com Kenya chief ex­ec­u­tive Adil Youssefi said.


A small scale farmer at a fam­ily farm in Ny­eri

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