Data + Technology can improve African Agriculture
Many smallholder farmers start off and manage their agribusiness ventures through trial and error basis. They hit the ground with gusto with no concrete information on farming, which leads to costly blunders. But hopefully that problem is being solved. KALRO (Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organisation) has launched 14 agribusiness apps to help farmers make informed choices even as they undertake their agribusiness ventures.
Launched during the just-concluded East Africa Farmers Digital conference, KALRO’s ICT Director Boniface Akuku said the organisation has realised most farmers run their projects without expert knowledge. To address that problem, the research body is on a mission to digitise the agricultural value chain.
“Ours is to ensure we give farmers research based information to ensure they run their projects with success. Have you noticed that most large scale farmers are doing well but small scale ones are struggling. The reason being while the big players are operating using data, the small holder farmers are operating blindly because they have no access to key information on how to farm.”
The organsation therefore hopes to solve that problem and ensure farmers have access to key information through ICT tools, said Akuku. The apps give step by step information on how to manage avocado, banana, garlic, spider flower and cassava farm. It touches on critical aspects from planting to harvesting and marketing. The other apps address fall armyworm reporting and mapping, grey leaf spot disease resistant maize varieties and maize lethal necrosis disease control.