Whereas agriculture remains Kenya’s mainstay with smallholder farmers taking the majority share of agricultural production, smallholder farmers continue to be exploited due to lack of information.
With the advent of modern technology, it is now possible to innovate ways farmers can access information in an affordable and convenient manner.
With support from IICD, FIT Resources is proposing to undertake ICT based interventions that will target to address information access challenges currently being faced by smallholder farmers in Kenya.
A summary of challenges around access to information by rural small holder farmers in Kenya are as follows:
- Farmers are not able to reach out to reliable markets,
- Reliable buyers demand quantities and quality that the farmers cannot meet,
- Farmers cannot easily access the internet due to lack of knowledge and adequate equipment,
- High transport costs,
- Side selling frustrating farmers and,
- Poor access to financial services.
Opportunities for ICT include:
- Expand mobile networks,
- Optimal utilisation of Cell phones,
- Enhanced use of Radio to drive other forms of ICT,
- Increased use of digital devices like cameras and recorders,
- Use of the internet and,
- Use of ICT to manage and address information needs
FIT is proposing to mainstream mobile telephony in its radio programmes and effectively enhance access to markets by smallholder farmers in Value Chains in which ICCO partners are working by building capacities of Value Chain players to organise and manage their information needs through ICT applications.
More specifically, FIT proposes to host an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system to support radio stations airing agri-business programmes, where frequently needed information may be posted for accessibility to stakeholders in selected value chains. FIT proposes to initially focus on value chains in which ICCO partners in Western Kenya are working during the IICD 3 year project.
The IVR facility will disseminate information through interactive voice response. FIT also proposes to set up a digital information collection and aggregation system that will collect information from other key players in the agri-business sector, besides ICCO partners in Western Kenya, initially in the Tomato, passion, Onion and Irish Potato value chains. The information will be packaged for wider dissemination using radio, and hosted on the IVR system for access by mobile telephones.