• Kenya National Farmers’ Federation vice chairman says the organisation has stepped up the use of USSD to get services straight to the farmers’ phones.
• Says since farmers can no longer meet freely because of Covid-19, Kenaff developed a website to assist them access required information and post their concerns.
Farmers along River Tana in Garissa county have been urged to use digital platforms to access information on market trends amidst Covid-19.
Kenya National Farmers’ Federation (Kenaff) vice chairman Dubat Amey on Monday said the organisation has stepped up the use of USSD (a short code service that’s available on basic mobile phones) to get services straight to farmers’ phones.
Amey spoke to the press in Garissa town. He said since farmers can no longer meet freely because of the restrictions on movement and gatherings due to Covid-19, Kenaff developed a website to assist them access required information and share their concerns.
“Terms like physical distancing, lockdowns and containment measures represent a new harsh reality for our farmers. The new safety precautions mean group meetings are no longer allowed, so we had to find a new approach,” he said.
Amey noted that the federation had to be innovative to deal with the new challenges ‘and that is why technology has come in handy’.
He said the huge growth in mobile phone ownership and connectivity throughout the country has enabled Kenaff information technology teams to rethink on how they access farmers.
“While the challenges that continue to face farmers are becoming more complex, Kenaff is ready to continue working with and for the farmers of Kenya for their collective good and progressive socio-economic transformation,” he said.
Amey called on the Garissa county government to support the initiative by buying smart phones for active groups to enable them access the information services.
He also asked Governor Ali Korane to recruit more agricultural extension services officers, noting that farmers along River Tana have the potential to grow enough horticultural crops for local and export market.
“Garissa produces among the best watermelons, apples and mangoes in the country. If we can support our farmers, they have the potential to grow the economy of Garissa county,” he said.
There are over 300 group farmers along the river who rely on its water to grow mainly horticultural produce.
Kenaff is a non-political and non-profit making organisation.
It helps organise farmers into viable agricultural value chains for optimal production and market access.
Edited by EKibii