Kenyan farmers struggle with erratic weather

26 Apr 2024


People walk past a section of a damaged road in Tana River County, Kenya, Dec. 1, 2023. (Xinhua/Li Yahui)

It is another planting season in Kenya, where farmers start preparing their farms in March, coinciding with the onset of the long rains that last until May. However, as farmers across the East African country prepare their farms, uncertainty over the rains lingers in their minds.

NAIROBI, March 13 (Xinhua) — It is another planting season in Kenya, where farmers start preparing their farms in March, coinciding with the onset of the long rains that last until May. However, as farmers across the East African country prepare their farms, uncertainty over the rains lingers in their minds.

The Kenya Meteorological Department, in a recent update, indicated that the rains would be above average throughout the season and may lead to flooding. Additionally, the period would be accompanied by higher-than-normal temperatures, with some regions expected to record temperatures over 30 degrees Celsius.

As farmers prepare their fields for planting, many are concerned that the heavy rains would harm their crops, while higher temperatures would lead to more pests and diseases.

The erratic weather, including drought, has become typical in Kenya, leaving farmers struggling with the impacts of climate change. “Last year, I lost part of my harvest due to the El Nino rains that started in October and lasted through December. Even before I could recover, we are told that we are going to have another season of enhanced rainfall,” said Joseph Korir, a maize farmer in Uasin Gishu County, located about 330 km northwest of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, in a recent interview with Xinhua.

Korir explained that the 2023 El Nino rains began just as many farmers were preparing to dry their produce. “The government provided electric dryers, but they were not enough,” Korir recounted. Consequently, Korir was unable to meet the requirement of the National Cereals and Produce Board, a state corporation, of 13 percent moisture content for maize. This forced him to sell his produce at a discounted price to livestock farmers for use as feed.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, floods destroyed about 1.5 million hectares of farmland in countries in the Horn of Africa during the El Nino rains from October to December 2023.

Jonathan Bii, Uasin Gishu County governor, said that the agriculturally rich region is among the worst affected by climate change, with farmers finding it difficult to know when to plant or harvest. “Our farming is mainly rain-fed, but with climate change, we can no longer rely on the rains. Not when we always have excessive rains or drought,” he said.

Uasin Gishu is among the maize-growing areas in Kenya that produce the bulk of the 45 million bags harvested annually in the country, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

Not only are Kenya’s maize farmers affected by the erratic weather, but those growing horticultural crops like onions, tomatoes and capsicums also have to contend with increased diseases and pests due to unusually higher temperatures that encourage their multiplication.

Similarly, farmers cultivating Kenya’s main cash crops — coffee and tea — have to cope with increasingly erratic rainfall and a rise in pests and diseases, which diminish yields or the quality of the produce. Tea and coffee are critical export crops, with the country earning a record 1.29 billion U.S. dollars from tea and 251 million dollars from coffee in 2023.

Fruit farmers, especially those cultivating avocados, mangoes and citrus, have also been affected by the effects of climate change. “Higher than normal temperatures have made my avocados end up with irregular ripening that is rejected in the market, especially if you are selling internationally,” said Moses Ng’ang’a, a farmer from Murang’a in central Kenya.

Climate change effects, which include droughts, higher temperatures, hailstorms, rainfall variability and strong winds, are affecting fruit production globally, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) noted in a recent policy brief.

The UN agency observed that in some areas, “changing weather patterns have made avocado production unviable and, in some cases, producers have been forced to relocate production areas or abandon production completely.”

The worst-affected countries include Colombia, Kenya and Peru, which the FAO said “will likely see an increase in rainfall by 2100, while Mexico, Chile and South Africa are expected to record decreases by the end of the century.”

“High temperatures and heat stress inhibit pollination and fruit setting, and alter the shape and size of avocado fruits. Temperatures of over 30 degrees Celsius cause irregular ripening and darkening of avocado flesh while increased solar radiation can lead to sunburn on fruits and damage to branches,” the FAO explained.

Climate change poses the single biggest threat to Kenya’s food security, said Kenyan President William Ruto last week at a farmers’ agricultural fair in Uasin Gishu. He urged farmers to adopt climate-smart practices to sustainably grow food despite the rapidly unfolding effects of climate change.

To mitigate the impact of erratic weather on food production, the government is helping farmers adopt new technologies and practices, including irrigation, tree planting and the development of early warning systems

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-03-13 18:08:15

Focus on Farmers at Climate Summit

6 Sep 2023

This year’s Africa Climate Weeks kicks off coming Monday, and the major event will run alongside President William Ruto’s inaugural Africa Climate Summit coming with the aim of heightening exposure to climate change and associated costs at the local and global level. The discussions are expected to cover four thematic areas, and one of them is food security under the broad pillar of Land, Ocean, Food and water.

Food insecurity is of major concern in the wake of climate change considering that it has been soaring globally. This is especially worse in Africa, a region greatly reliant of rain fed agriculture to grow its foods.

Climate change phenomena — extreme storms, flooding, heat stress, and increased prevalence of pests and crop diseases, has affected seasons, which have for eons naturally guided African farmers on when to till the land, plant seed and harvest. Rains are shorter and unpredictable, and if the rains fall, it is destructive to the crops, making rain fed agriculture such a risky business for farmers, thereby affecting their livelihoods and endangering food availability.

Case in point was what was witnessed at the beginning of this year where smallholder farmers living in agricultural rich regions came face to face with the ravages of drought.

In the past one to two decades, it has become near impossible to predict whether the weather will deliver a good harvest. This has forced many farmers to switch to short-term crops such as capsicum, pepper, cucumber, which indeed will earn them an income, but puts to risk the availability of dense foods to society.

For this reason, the drawing of the Nairobi Declaration, the report that will capture the summit’s commitments, pledges and expected outcomes, should clearly shine the spotlight on the plight of small-scale farmers by outlining solutions specifically geared to them. Small-scale farmers are disproportionately vulnerable to the impacts of climate.

The summit will need to ramp up support to help them cope with the effects of climate change. From climate smart finance solutions to training, knowledge and availing of innovative solutions need to be clearly outlined for this group of farmers to enhance their adaptive capacity. Knowledge and innovation remains a far-fetched ideal for many of them.

Original post: Peoples Daily website

Read the original story here:  


6 May 2023

The Summit provides an opportunity for an African Leaders Nairobi Declaration on Green Growth and Climate Finance Solutions, and for a Call to Action for African Union Member States and supporting partners to champion its delivery. It seeks to launch a new ambition for Africa and invite partnerships with the rest of the world. The summit serves as a platform to showcase progress, exchange perspectives, and begin to converge on common priorities for global discussions (including UNGA, G20, World Bank Group (WBG) and IMF Annual Meetings, COP28 and beyond). It will enable African countries to define detailed plans, shape their associated tools and investments, inform and push for reforms of the international financial architecture, share innovation, knowledge, experience, and practical approaches to deepen and expand understanding of climate challenges and opportunities, and enable Africa to renew its vision and become more assertive in pursuing a climate and development agenda through a unified approach.

The CitizenNews Cautious hope as forecast shows good rainy season across East Africa

27 Mar 2022

ArushaThe EAC Secretariat has urged partner states to take appropriate steps to ensure maximum benefit from farming as the region is expected to receive normal rains over the next few months after almost two years of persistent drought.

This comes after the Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development has predicted normal rains over East Africa from March to May

“This is good news for the region, though the situation might differ from country to country. Expert guidance is important so that farmers are not over optimistic in case the rains end earlier than usual, but also that the opportunity is not lost,” says Hon Christophe Bazivamo, EAC Deputy Secretary General, Productive and Social Sectors.

The March to May season constitutes an important rainfall season, particularly in the equatorial parts of the region where it contributes up to 70 percent of the total annual rainfall, according to ICPAC. The rainfall is good for crop and livestock farming if it is not excessive.

The EAC Secretariat urges farmers to plant enough food crops and livestock keepers to plant pastures which can be harvested and stored for feeding of livestock during the dry season.

The Secretariat also encourages farmers to adopt technologies for water harvesting and storage as well as small scale irrigation systems to increase crop production and productivity during the dry season.

Partner States might also consider constructing irrigation systems to bring water from areas which often see flooding to dry but fertile areas to make more arable land available.

As the EAC region begins to recover from the impacts of drought, farmers, agricultural extension workers, and other agricultural value chain actors are encouraged to follow the weather forecasts from the national meteorology departments and agencies and the Ministries in charge of Agriculture and Livestock and to refer to ICPAC’s weekly and monthly weather forecasts.

The meteorology departments and agencies are encouraged to publish weather information in a timely manner.

They should collaborate with other government departments and agencies such as public health, animal health, environmental health to facilitate timely risk communication and preparing for outbreaks of infectious diseases of public and animal health significance.

According to ICPAC, the southern, central and northern Tanzania, eastern Uganda, northern Burundi, eastern Rwanda, southern and western Kenya, and eastern South Sudan might receive above normal rains this time of the year which might result in flash floods and increased mosquito populations.

 The EAC Secretariat cautions that this might increase the risk of outbreaks of infectious diseases transmitted by mosquitos such as malaria for humans and Rift Valley Fever for animals which can be transmitted from livestock to humans.

The risk of outbreaks of other diseases such as Cholera may increase with the occurrence of flash floods. The public is advised to put in place appropriate measures to minimise infection of people and livestock with mosquito-borne diseases. 

Original post: The Citizen


Kenya must embrace smart agriculture

10 Sep 2020

The phenomenon of climate change has become one of the most experienced effects around the globe with people experiencing both its subtle and stark effects.

The impacts of climate change affect every country on every continent.

The effects are creating unprecedented challenges for millions of people already burdened by poverty and oppression.

The increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events like hurricanes, wildfires and droughts threaten the world’s food supply, drive people from their homes, separate families and jeopardize livelihoods.

All of these effects increase the risk of conflict, hunger and poverty.

Visible evidence and climbing numbers demonstrate that climate change is not a distant or imaginary threat, but rather a growing and undeniable reality.

However, the effects of climate change have been visible in Arid and semi-arid areas (ASAL), with some communities facing food insecurity, water scarcity and loss of livestock.

Climate change has impacted negatively on agriculture, which is the main source of livelihood in most of the rural communities living in the Arid and semi-arid areas (ASAL).

Tharaka Sub-county in Tharaka Nithi county is one of the areas that has been affected gravely by climate change.

It is considered a semi-arid area as it receives less rainfall suitable for livestock production.

Poor methods of farming and soil conservation, charcoal burning and overgrazing have left the earth bare and rocky.

The sloping areas have experienced uncontrolled soil erosion, which has resulted in deep gullies across the landscape especially in Tharaka constituency.

This has made the area unfavorable for agricultural activities leaving options for livestock rearing which is also endangered. Temperatures range between 220C to 360C. Soils are generally low in fertility and are characterised by poor water retention capacities.

Livelihoods of the vast majority of Tharaka Nithi people is highly depended on unreliable small-scale agriculture (with high level of crop failure due to erratic and unreliable rainfall), small holder livestock keeping, and charcoal burning (contributes to the dwindling of natural resources like indigenous trees).

The drought situation in Tharaka is recurrent and is experienced between June – September.

Many of the communities who are worst hit by drought living in these areas are smallholder livestock keepers who mainly rely on livestock assets as a livelihood source.

The drought results in shortages of animal feeds and water leading to loss of body condition and sometimes deaths due to lack of feeds to sustain them through the drought period.

These animals fetch low livestock prices in the market in the event their owners need to sell them. Shortages of animal feed result from lack of drought preparedness in terms of feed preservation and conservation.

Feeds conserved is often inadequate compared to the capacity available in times of plenty that requires to be preserved and usually, the preserved feed is exposed to sunlight and heat leading to excessive drying.

Therefore, there has been a need to establish measures to cushion livestock against the impact of drought through ensuring the availability of feeds either by local production and preservation or by boosting the capacities of communities to source elsewhere by improving their incomes in the long run.

KENDAT has been able to cushion the communities in Tharaka from the harsh climate change through supporting the fodder production and preservation technology.

KENDAT has partnered with communities in Tharaka and the County Government of Tharaka Nithi to develop two fodder banks to help in the preservation of animal feeds in time of plenty for use in dry period in two different areas.

The two fodder banks have been established with modern technology to help preserve dried fodder without losing the nutrient content in a long period of time.

These has seen communities living around the established fodder banks to be very receptive and have brought feed from the previous bumper harvest to store in the fodder banks for use during the drought period which is not far from the onset.

The fodder banks are also aimed at assisting the communities to increase their income by storing enough fodder that they can sell to other communities during the drought season and thus eradicating rural poverty.

KENDAT has also supported one community in Tharaka with fodder production through support of agricultural machinery aimed at processing fodder for preservation.

The community has been supported to acquire a chaff cutter to help in fodder processing and preserving the fodder in bags.

This is aimed at maximising use of the fodder bank by storing a lot of feed in a limited space.

This technology also helps the animals digest feed better by cutting the fodder into smaller more manageable pieces and mixing it with other forage and supplements.

This reduces wastage resulting from the animals rejecting any parts of their feed.

The community aspires to ensure a productive feed reserve throughout the year especially in periods when drought occur. The project endeavours to conserve indigenous forages and conduct seed bulking for replication of such.

It also targets to boost the income of the rural communities from the sale of hay and this will ensure all-round care for the welfare of their animals. KENDAT is also in the process of establishing more fodder banks in different parts of Tharaka to increase the resilience of these communities.

Information is an important resource in the fight against the adverse impacts of climate change.

There is a need to give farmers regular information on current issues related to climate change and agriculture.

This can be achieved through the strengthening of the nation’s extension services by involving administrative arms of county and national government such as ward administrators and chiefs.

These are people close to farmers and they encourage farmers to form groups for enhanced capacity through group efforts. The country also needs to increase the capacity for climate change policy analysis, implementation and the limited resources to fund climate change adaptation and mitigation programs.

Agriculture remains underfunded in East Africa

22 Jul 2020

During the East African Community Agriculture Budget Summit last week, small scale farmers in member states expressed concerns over the agriculture sector that has remained under funded calling on the member states to meet the Malabo declaration.

“I acknowledge so many challenges that our small scale farmers in the region face including inadequate access to land, seasonal climatic changes, drought, floods, limited access to credit for investment,” said the speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Martin Ngoga during the summit.

The EALA speaker said that the lack of linkage between research and small scale farmers and COVID-19 pandemic has increased and likely to increase the suffering of the majority poor who are mainly people from the rural communities.

The chairperson of the Eastern and Southern African Small Scale Farmers (ESAFF) Hakim Baliraine called on EALA to take a proactive role in providing oversight on the EAC Agriculture Investment, “EALA should also ensure that the Malabo Biennial Review Report 2020 and results are seriously discussed at national and regional level.”

The Biennial Agriculture Review encourages good performance by member states in implementing the provisions of the Malabo Declaration.

The Malabo declaration calls for member states to allocate at least 10 percent of the annual budget to agriculture, the African Union Malabo declaration of June 2014 is aimed at accelerating agricultural growth and transformation for shared prosperity.

Last year the farmers’ forum presented a petition to the East African Community heads of state summit signed by one million farmers calling for allocation of 10% national budget to the agriculture sector, the Malabo declaration also calls for improved livelihood setting up eight goals by 2025. Among the goals of the declaration is the recommitment to enhance investment finance in agriculture by upholding 10% public spending budget and Operationalization of Africa investment bank.

“We expeditiously request the presence of all speakers of the National Parliaments to discuss the issues of financing the agriculture sector in the region,” said Mathias Kasamba an EALA member and a farmer.

In 2016 EALA passed a resolution for East Africa member states to fast-track the Malabo declaration by putting in place financial instruments which are responsive to the needs of small scale farmers.

Despite agriculture contributing to more than 30% of the region’s GDP, there have been a significant decline in the budget allocation by East African member states in agriculture sector.

African Union’s Malabo declaration aims to end hunger and reduce the poverty rate in the continent by a half in the year 2025.

Agriculture employs about 80 percent of the region’s 172 million people who live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihood, Rwanda won the best overall Malabo Biennial Review Gold Award in Africa scoring the highest marks.

However no country was on track in the overall for enhancing investment finance in agriculture, with only Burundi considered to be on track in East Africa for government agriculture expenditure as of the percentage of total government expenditure which should be at least 10 percent.

Original article: Burundi times

What is holding back agroecological research for Africa?

18 Jun 2020


  • Funding for agricultural research, education and extension through official development assistance has stagnated in the past 10 years, at 14 per cent of agricultural aid in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2017.
  • Most funders and governments still favour ‘green revolution’ approaches, in the belief that industrial agriculture is the only way to sufficient food.
  • Although Africa’s agri-development landscape is extremely complex and priorities highly divergent, there is a need for donors to rethink their financing strategies. 

A report by Biovision International, the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (Ipes-Food) and the United Kingdom-based Institute of Development Studies, shows only a small fraction of agricultural research funding to Sub-Saharan Africa is spent on agroecology and other sustainable approaches.

“Money Flows: what is holding back investment in agroecological research for Africa?”, which has analysed the all-important financial flows in food system research that go to sub-Saharan Africa, shows that money flows in Africa’s agricultural development sector are mainly reinforcing damaging industrial models.

Funding for agricultural research, education and extension through official development assistance has stagnated in the past 10 years, at 14 per cent of agricultural aid in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2017. Most funders and governments still favour ‘green revolution’ approaches, in the belief that industrial agriculture is the only way to sufficient food.

Although Africa’s agri-development landscape is extremely complex and priorities highly divergent, there is a need for donors to rethink their financing strategies. Despite the merits of agroecological approaches in transforming farming systems, only a handful of donors recognise it as a means of building sustainable food systems.

Despite commitments in the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme to invest more than one per cent of agricultural GDP in research, investments in agricultural research by governments in Sub-Saharan Africa have fallen significantly with the overall investment ratio dropping below 0.5 per cent in 2010-2014. Agricultural funding has generally been de-prioritised in favour of other development issues, including health, education and national security.

Industrial agriculture

Kenya and Ethiopia attract significant bilateral and multilateral agricultural aid, but the resources for agricultural research are mainly used for industrial agriculture with limited resources going to agroecology. More than 70 per cent of Kenyan research institutes’ projects focused on industrial agriculture, with only 13 per cent being agroecological. Another 13 per cent of funding is used to replace synthetic inputs with organic alternatives.

Top donors for Kenya are the United States, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the European Union, Germany, the World Bank’s International Development Association and Japan. At $274 million (Sh27 billion) a year, Kenya’s investment in public agricultural research is the third-highest in Africa.

The “Money Flows” report also shines a light on Switzerland, a major bilateral donor, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the biggest philanthropic investor in agri-development. The findings paint an interesting picture. Some 85 per cent of the projects funded by the Gates Foundation support industrial agriculture and/or targeted approaches such as improved pesticide practices. Only three per cent of Gates Foundation projects were agroecological.

By contrast, 51 per cent of Swiss-funded AgR4D projects had agroecological components, and most of these (41 per cent) also included aspects of socioeconomic and political change like decent working conditions and gender equality. Just 13 per cent of Swiss aid focused only on industrial agriculture. A fraction of UK and Belgian development aid, and minimal US agricultural research funding, also goes to agroecology.

But the tide is changing. There is a growing interest in agroecology by bilateral and multilateral donors — France, Germany, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and International Fund for Agricultural Development.

Donors must encourage long-term, pooled funding models that encourage research institutes to implement agroecological projects, ensure projects are inclusive and co-designed with farmers and communities, and increase funding to African organisations and enhance transparency.

Donors also need to address the issue of unequal power relations in the agricultural sector. This can be done by building strong, long-lasting partnerships and supporting bottom-up alliances with the involvement of farmer groups and researchers.

The primary focus must be on smallholder farmers contributing to a safer and healthier world who support agroecological approaches. Let us turn our back on the vested interests obsessed with the technological fixes damaging soils and livelihoods and creating a dependency on the world’s biggest agri-businesses.

African countries need to reform their farming systems and put more money into agroecological approaches and implement sustained actions to effectively deal with the negative impacts of climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic.

They must be responsive to the needs of the millions of smallholder farmers who count on them to make the right decisions.

Read the original article here

Lockdowns May Adversely Affect Small Scale Farmers

3 Jun 2020

There is a risk of poverty levels among small scale farmers going up if the ongoing restrictions on country borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic continue to be effected.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (Ifad) President Gilbert Houngbo said governments should consider easing their lockdowns and find other ways of controlling the spread of the disease.

“When countries close their borders, or if they decide they will not transport their food, it means that for countries that import, food will not arrive,” he said.

Dr Houngbo spoke during a question and answer reporting online session organised by the Thomson Reuters Foundation as part of a Covid-19 professional development programme run in association with Ifad


Currently, there is no food shortage, he said, but if some countries make decisions not to export their food, it means some countries will face shortages.

He said governments should ensure that farmers will not have to sell the little they produce to survive.


Dr Houngbo also said that the whole food chain from the production to access needs to stop making unilateral decisions without thinking about the international economies.

“We need to make sure that the rural poor are not negatively affected by the pandemic. Farmers should also avoid a monoculture approach and produce two or three crops, some being staple and others being cash crops,” he said

He said Ifad is repurposing its ongoing projects to respond to the pandemic after realising that it has impacted small scale farmers, both economically and socially.


Currently there are 70 countries which have asked the projects to be repurposed to ensure the funds are used to respond to needs occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic. “Ifad is not a humanitarian agency and we don’t want to engage in humanitarian emergency response. We want to ensure our focus to the rural small scale farmers remains even as the world strives to respond to the pandemic,” said Dr Houngbo.

He revealed that Ifad is engaging banks to give waivers to the small scale farmers to enable them respond to the pandemic.He said that, so far, there has not been shortage of food across the world as was expected but that could change if the pandemic stays longer.

He said donor funding has been consistent and hoped to get more funds to support farmers to continue with production and maintain food security across the world.

“We were worried that there may be a shift from agriculture to health but that hasn’t happened so far. There are some donors who have shown interest to contribute to emergency,” he said.


Dr Houngbo further asked governments to invest in ensuring small scale farmers and the rural poor get access to smart phones and embrace digital farming as part of innovative measures that need to be taken.

“Digital agriculture should be embraced to enable farmers communicate to their customers and market their farm produces,” said Dr Houngbo.

He said there is need for farmers to be innovative and continue farming during the lockdowns.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic is a serious shock to the global community and farmers need to develop resilience.

“The shock of locust invention in farms in East Africa is also a major threat to food security. Governments should help farmers to build resilience to such shocks,” he said.

In Kenya, the government has been spraying the locusts which have been invading farms in several counties.

Making low-cost digital tools the critical solution to smallholder farmers’ needs during global crises

24 May 2020

Digital information-sharing tools such as audio, text and video messaging through mobile phones can prove to be highly effective in disseminating critical information to smallholder farmers during times of limited physical access as seen in the present COVID-19 pandemic. In a recent webinar on using affordable mobile technologies to assist smallholder farmers during these adverse times, experts in digital technology in agriculture shared examples of current successes and ideas for potential scaling up.

“Digital agriculture will play a key part in developing extension services across geographies, with extension workers connecting the community to knowledge management systems.” He recommended that, in partnership with national agri institutions, information about climate, finance, agronomy, pests/disease, etc. could be provided to extension workers, so that they could then pass it on to the farmers. “They can be assisted in this by apps such as Plantix. This is an incredible opportunity to bring these information systems together,” he said, emphasizing that digital tools should be used to disseminate scientific knowledge that is integrated with indigenous knowhow and adapted to local contexts.

Mr Ram Dhulipala, Theme Leader, Digital Agriculture and Youth Initiatives, ICRISAT, outlined four key areas in which digital tools supported by ICRISAT were making a big difference:

Extension services

Extension services – knowledge sharing through field demonstrations, farmer field days etc. – play a key role in supporting smallholder farmers. The pandemic-related social distancing has led to a big move towards to mainstreaming e-extension services – knowledge sharing through mobile phones, TV and social media. iSAT (Intelligent Systems Advisory Tool) is a good example, helping 8000 farmers in India by relaying essential weather-related agrometeorological advisory services. Recently, e-extension services have been set up for the Accelerated Value Chain Development project in Kenya, benefitting 20,000 farmers.

Input value chains

New self-service apps or agent-led e-commerce models for providing farmers with seeds, fertilizers, and other farm inputs have led to enhanced transparency and removal of intermediaries. Digitalization of existing structures and functions also pave the way for future easier access to institutional finance.

Agriculture marketing

Since the lockdown in India happened just as produce was ready for harvest and sale, several self-service portals or agent-led models stepped in to successfully link farm gate produce directly to consumers. Citizen-led approaches using social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter etc. played a big role in this effort.

Collectivization of farmers

Digital tools help in collectivization of smallholder farmers, helping them pool resources and benefit from shared mechanized farm equipment rentals, drones (for spraying of pesticides), online aggregation and sale of produce etc.

Ms Erna Groudt, Client Relationship Manager at eProd, a Kenya-based ERP for agriculture supply chain management, spoke about how their product was working remotely to collect reliable farm data from farmers’ fields, share weather and other information with farmers through SMS etc., and relieve cashflow restraints by providing credit mobile payments and so on.

Mr Jonathan Lehe, Chief Development Officer of Precision Agriculture for Development, described how his company developed a two-way SMS platform to warn farmers of emergency fall armyworm outbreaks in partnership with the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture. Also, in Uganda, they provided two-way voice-based services of digital advice to smallholder coffee farmers.

The webinar – ‘Supporting farmers with low-cost digital tools during the COVID pandemic’ was conducted on 19 May as part of the ICT4D Conference
series, by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and NetHope. It was moderated by Sonja Ruetzel, CRS. The video of the session can be seen here.


Rajani Kumar
Senior Communications Officer

Read the original article here

1 2 3 4