The government will from next month carry out a National Farmer’s registration exercise that will provide a farmer’s database in the country.
The project in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of ICT seeks to transform the country into a knowledge-based economy under Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) programmes
Agriculture and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri said the government must rely more on scientific data to drive policy interventions which are key to the development of the country and the entire African farming community.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Chief administrative secretary (CAS), Dr Andrew Tuimur during the opening of the 1st East Africa digital farmers’ conference and exhibition at KARLO headquarters on Monday, the CS said while production and productivity of major crops is still low due to minimal use of improved seed varieties and other agricultural inputs, farmers lacked modern agricultural production skills.
ICT in agriculture, Kiunjuri said is therefore expected to play a major role in agricultural development in the developing world since many ICT solutions have proven affordable to small holder and resource poor farmers that make up about 80 percent of the farming community in the region.
“It is these ICT solutions that I expect we shall be examining to find ways of harnessing to enhance agricultural and rural development to address majority of smallholder farmers, who continue to be poor,” he said.
The CS noted that the generation and application of agricultural knowledge is increasingly important, especially for small and marginal farmers, who need relevant information in order to improve, sustain, and diversify their farm enterprises.
Kiunjuri said that such information which can be transmitted electronically through hand-held or other devices will enable farmers make the right decisions at the right time
For the technology to be available to the smallholders, the CS noted there is need to work with the private sector in ways that make these innovations not only available and accessible, but also affordable.
Tuimur confirmed that government will from next week start recruitment of 80,000 enumerators via Ajira portal to help in registering the farmers and also engage form four leavers and university graduates who will be recruited at county level.
ICT Principal Secretary Jerome Ochieng said technology is geared towards adding a new meaning to the agriculture.
Under the Ajira programme, Ochieng confirmed that the Ministry has enrolled over 60,000 youth who are currently undertaking buying and selling of agriculture produce.
“This fits well in the economic empowerment programme by the government,” said Ochieng, adding that adopting modern technology will help in expanding the agriculture sector and thus contribute to accomplishing the food security and nutrition under the Big four agenda.