The Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) has launched a mobile application that helps farmers run their avocado farming businesses. This comes as a huge relief for many smallholder farmers in the country who initiate and run their ventures through trial and error.
The initiative was launched during the just-concluded East Africa Farmers Digital conference. KALRO’s ICT Director Boniface Akuku said that they are presently working to digitize the agricultural value chain. This is through providing the farmers with research based information that will help them rn their respective businesses.
According to Akuku, these apps give step by step information on how to manage avocado, banana, garlic, spider flower and cassava farm. It also touches on critical aspects from planting to harvesting and marketing. Furthermore, the other apps address fall armyworm reporting and mapping, grey leaf spot disease resistant maize varieties and maize lethal necrosis disease control.
The avocado farmers are primarily at an advantage since the app illustrates avocado varieties, climatic range and soil type that favour its growth and production, land preparation and planting. It also provides elaborate information on irrigation, pollination and intercropping. Additionally, farmers get awareness as far as fertilisers, mulching and weeding are concerned.
The apps also assist with harvesting, post harvesting storage and market information. They are downloadable from the smart phones with internet connection. On the other hand, farmers can visit USAid and Karlo Farmer Knowledge Platform either for clarification purposes or to seek further information. Moreover, there are technical experts who have been taxed with translation of the apps into different vernacular languages to guarantee wider reach.
The Agriculture Chief Administrative Secretary Andrew Tuimur said the theme of the conference emphasized the agricultural sector’s goal of achieving 100% food and nutrition security. This also happens to be part of the State’s Big four agenda. The agricultural industry is currently experiencing a transformation driven by increased adoption of technology in different aspects. The digitization of agriculture guarantees farmers access to markets, accurate weather predictions as well as superior seed quality.