• Unlike other applications, the new technology will not generalise weather patterns for towns but give data for individual farms.
• The director of ICT in Kalro Boniface Akuku noted that for years farmers had relied on chance and luck in their farming.
Farmers can monitor rainfall patterns in individual farms thanks to a new application by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation.
The Kenya Agricultural Observation Platform (KAOP) app, is the first of its kind in the region and will help farmers monitor weather through their mobile phones.
KAOP will provide data on previous rainy days and predict long term trends as well as long term and current rainfall location plus pests and disease forecasts.
Unlike other applications, the new technology will not generalise weather patterns for towns but give data for individual farms.
The director of ICT in Kalro Boniface Akuku noted that for years farmers had relied on chance and luck in their farming.
“For years farmers have had challenges in getting real-time information on the rain and pest patterns but this will be addressed by on this digital platform,” he said. He spoke during the launch of the digital platform.
Akuku said that KAOP was 95 per cent accurate, adding that it can forecast weather over a radius of 9km.
“This is the first-ever application of its kind and unlike other systems that generalise weather patterns, it can zero in on an individual farm,” he said.
Akuku added that they had simplified the language used with over 2 million farmers already downloading the app in their phones.
Kalro director general Dr Eliud Kireger said that KAOP would help farmers plan on when to plant or spray based on data from the app.
“We are keen on empowering farmers with knowledge and info so that this country can be food secure in the coming years,” he said.
He predicted that food production would rise in the coming months, adding that they were working with the US's National Aeronautics and Space Administration in providing the weather data.
“For years we have developed a lot of technology which has not reached farmers and we are working with NASA to bridge that gap,” he said.
He added that under KAOP there were 50 applications on different value chain which would make it easier for farmers to get information from land tilling to marketing.
(edited by o. owino)