Modernising rural agricultural extension services

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The German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development is funding the German Development Cooperation in Kenya.The Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is the key implementing partner for technical cooperation from the German Government.GIZ contributes to enhancing food security and drought resilience in Western and Northern Kenya in close collaboration with the national counterparts- the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock,Fisheries and Irrigation(MoALFI), partner County governments,civil society and research institutions.

In Western Kenya,one agricultural extension officer supports on average, 1,500 farming households.New technologies enable a higher ,more efficient outreach to information seeking farmers and significantly reduces the costs per transactions.

GIZ Agriculture and Rural Development, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), promotes ICT enhanced services that contribute to modernised image of agribusiness as a profitable career of choice attracting more youths to the key economic sector.

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Plant Clinic Models

In partnership with county and national governments and plantwise, GIZ supports farmers to improve food security by reducing crop losses that arise from plant health problems. A total of 45 networks of local plant clinics are currently operational in counties of Siaya, Kakamega and Bungoma. This model is strengthened through a stakeholder forum for information sharing in the plant health system, as well as an online knowledge bank where farmers receive actionable and science based agricultural advice from the plant doctors who operate clinics.

e-Extension

A bulk messaging platform for disseminating advisory and weather messages to specific groups of small holder farmers and stakeholders reaches more than 30,000 farmers every month in the counties of Bungoma,Kakamega and Siaya. The platform is managed by a secretariat that receives messages for dissemination from subject matter specialists drawn from various county directorates.

A public -private partnership with fruited plains showcases how digital interventions are making it easy to manage advisory services and link producers to markets.Jointly with the crops office of the County Government of Bungoma , Fruited Plains employs the digital farmforce platform n monitoring agronomic extensions services and nursery operations for passion fruit and avocado farmers . Farmforce also provides aggregation and market information.

Digitizing dairy cooperatives

Discrepancies in records on the quantities of milk delivered risk mistrust and weakens loyalty among member farmers of dairy cooperatives. In partnership with Safaricom DIGI farm,GIZ is currently supporting a holistic digital solution to dairy cooperatives through enhanced information management. This solution enables farmers to interact directly with the cooperatives through the Connected Farmer app. Farmers receive instant messages for daily quantities of milk delivered and cumulative amounts for the months,capturing all deductions in terms of inputs and milk quality.

The connected farmer app provides access to a suite of information and financial services, including discounted products ,customised information on farming best practices,and access to credit and other financial facilities. This enables improved information management within the cooperatives and boosts productivity by individual farmers.

GIS monitoring and mapping

Bukura Agricultural College has been supported to establish a fully equipped and operational GIS(geographic information system) laboratory. GIS is key in capturing,storing, analysing,managing and presenting spatial or geographical data.

In partnership with the county government of Siaya, Kakamega and Bungoma, Bukura Agriculture College offers support in building the capacities of public advisory services to use GIS applications. This has enabled extension officers to flag areas that require soil rehabilitation or soil protection measures.

The trained teams have been able to develop soil fertility maps using datasets from various service providers such as CropNuts,SGS,KARLO,Bungoma Soil Lab or AgroCares. The County teams have equally been able to digitize their data collection tools and are now integrating these with WRUA land use planning strategies.

To further increase productivity , technology start-ups have to be supported and scaled up in the Western region. Innovators and partners require forums to present their ICT -enhanced solutions and exchange lessons learnt.

Disruptive , digital technologies have the potential to further enrich market systems for enhanced competitiveness, revolutionalise financial inclusion of smallholder farmers or improve information sharing among extension officers through big data analytics.



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