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February 19, 2018

Farmers to get real time info in new app

A small scale farmer shows some of the improved indigenous chicken at the family farm in Nyeri.Photo/Waikwa MAINA
A small scale farmer shows some of the improved indigenous chicken at the family farm in Nyeri.Photo/Waikwa MAINA

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 agronomic 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 capacity 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 aims 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. The e-services will be driving our common vision and goal of restructuring agricultural and livestock research into a dynamic, innovative, responsive and well-coordinated system,” Liquid Telecom Kenya chief executive Adil Youssefi said.

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