10 December 2013

Available Agriculture Apps for android in Kenya

Mfarm App
This is a Kenyan agribusiness software solution that seeks to provide and deliver necessary information for Kenyan farmers, thereby helping farmers and agropreneurs to improve their productivity and increase their bottom line. 
Mfarm is an Android App with daily crop prices from Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Kitale and Eldoret.

mkulimaLEO is an app developed by Kosmerc Solutions to help Small and Middle Scale Farmers (S&MSF) obtain information that will help them produce more yield.
It does so by aggregating information from various sources, including KARI, Kenya Seed Company, ICIPE, Infonet Biovision, Universities (JKUAT, UON and Egerton) thereby curbing the ever widening information gap between the S&MSF and the LSF.
Research shows that LSF produce more per unit area of crops than the S&MSF. This is mainly due to the fact that the Large scale farmers consume information from various sources and employ skilled persons to run their farms. LSF attend and participate agricultural shows and exhibitions, visit other countries to obtain agricultural information, subscribe to agricultural literature (magazines and buletines) have access to research data from agricultural institutions and more so employ professionals to run their farms.
Small and Medium Scale Farmers on the other hand employ unskilled labour, manage their own farms with their limited knowledge, dont attend or participate in agricultural exhibitions and shows due to the prohibitive costs. S&MSF usually practice subsistence agriculture

Kenya is a huge exporter of fresh milk and milk byproducts. This is mainly due to the emphasis of  quality in the value chain that leaves us with a superior product. To maintain this kind of standards, the dairy farmers need to access information on their finger tips and that’s where iCow comes in.
This is another SMS app focused on giving the dairy farmer unbiased information concerning the cows’ gestation period, vet info, record keeping and the world’s first cow calender.

Yet another mobile phone innovation targeting the small scale farmer with information, advice and support. Personally I use m-Kilimo and they have helped me with invaluable information when I need it.
You just call them with your query and if the receipient is not qualified in that field , he/she liases with another researcher/agronomist who is capable of handling your matter. It’s just amazing and it’s free.

Sokonect Lite
Sokonect Lite is an agribusiness tool suitably designed for stakeholders in the horticultural sector in Kenya, with a goal of improving production, marketing and consumption of fresh produce especially vegetables. The application acts as a link between exporting companies, small-holder farmers and consumers.
It allows a farmer to view the prices offered by the buying companies. A farmer can also post tenders of what he or she offers for sale making requisition for packaging materials efficient, effectively avoiding post–harvest losses. Farmers can get a sales records of transactions made with export companies at a particular day, month or even a period they wish.
A farmer can also advertise what they want to sell locally through the local markets feature. Prospective buyers view the adverts as per their location and can share the advert with others. Once you have acquired the application, you will be taken through a simple process of setting the preferred user-type. The currently available options are Consumer, Farmer and Exporter.


6 November 2013

ICT to Fight Fake Agriculture Inputs in Rwanda

You could be one of the people who applied fertilisers last season, but got a miserable harvest even when you had increased acreage. Chances are you could have been a victim of fake fertiliser dealers. But worry no more as a new technology has been unveiled on the local market to help detect fake agriculture inputs, including fertilisers.
Speaking at an ongoing Information and communications technology (ICT) for agricultural summit in Kigali yesterday, Bruce Kisitu, the coordinator of the project, explained that the technology uses mobile phone to verify whether a product is fake or genuine.
The technology was developed by the International Fertiliser Development Centre (IFDC) in partnership with Crop Life Africa and the Middle East.
Kisitu said under the project, agro-inputs like seeds, pesticide, fertilisers and pesticides are marked with a scratch-panel which gives a pack number and information about the products. Farmers then send the pack number by SMS to local short code, which automatically returns a verification of authenticity on the product being purchased.
Kisitu said the innovation will also give farmers confidence and security. He noted that apart from increasing the market share of genuine agro-input dealers by about 10 per cent, it will also boost crop production by almost 60 per cent.
"Fake agriculture inputs are causing food insecurity by affecting crop performance and depriving famers of profits through reduced output. It is therefore important to crack down this illicit trade, which has been a threat to agriculture production in Africa," he said.
According to a survey conducted by the International Fertiliser Development Centre in 2012, about 46 per cent of agro-inputs on the market are counterfeits, 12 per cent are believed to be expired, 19 per cent un registered, 8 per cent un labeled and 15 per cent out dated.
Flex Jumbe, the secretary general of the Seed Trade Association of Malawi, said farmers have been kept under the blanket of poverty because of illicit trade in the agro-business industry.
Innocent Musabyimana, the deputy director in charge of agricultural extension at the Rwanda Agricultural Board, said that the innovation once rolled out could be the driving factor towards greater crop productivity the board is targeting during the first season of 2014.
He called upon the innovators to continue researching on the technology and come up with more efficient ways on how farmers in rural areas can adopt it very fast.
"This may include incorporating it in our local language so that our farmers are able to understand it very fast."
The project is already being practiced in Uganda, Malawi, Tanzania and South Africa.

Adopted from allafrica.com

5 November 2013

Embracing ICT in mobile application to help farmers

Over 50,000 farmers will in the next six months be linked to a new mobile and web farming information application tool to enable them access material to enhance agricultural productivity.
Currently, the farming information application tool linked to 500 extension officers across the country is expected to enhance availability of data and use the same to enhance agricultural productivity to contain prevailing food insecurity.
Last week Avallain Limited a social enterprise with offices in Switzerland and Kenya launched the new technology platform -ikilimo-smart farming to bridge the existing gap between farmers and huge volumes of published and online literature that are less encouraging to read.
The inventor of the new system Avallain Limited a social enterprise with offices in Switzerland and Kenya says that the new technology platform is created for millions of small scale and aspiring farmers to enable them know about farm life right from their location.
For example, farmers will benefit with information of animal production, plant production, farm equipment, food processing high value crops and marketing.

Shelmith Mumbi the company content manager explained that the development of the new information technology system is informed by huge inflation gap in the agriculture sector in the country and new global dynamics such as high population and advancement of information technology.
“We expect youth because of their techno know-how will get interested and venture into agriculture sector which has been a preserve of the old for long,” said Mumbi.
Currently, the farming information application tool is linked to 500 extension workers and is expected to engage more than 50,000 farmers in the next 6 months.
“The new mobile application bridges the existing gap between growers and the volumes of published or online literature that are less encouraging to read.  The increased usage of the internet through mobile phones has prompted many farmers to seek information and services from various website,” said Mumbi.
The mobile and web farming information application tool, Mumbi explained can be accessed on any internet enabled device, implying even farmers in the interior locations of the country stand to gain from the new system.
Mumbi confirmed that her company will sponsor 5000 Short Message Service (SMS) tips to be sent for free to the first subscribers of the ikilimo.
She added, the subscribers will sign up for SMs tips on any topic of their choice close within the application.
The new mobile application was developed with assistance by agronomists from the ministry of agriculture, academicians, and local farmers.
“ikilimo will be implemented in two phases  with the second phase starting in April next year. It aims at encouraging the youth and aspiring farmers venture into the sector by providing them with basic and very important information in farming,” Mumbi added.
Senior assistant director of agriculture Richard Githaiga stated the launch of the new technology platform comes at a time when the government is focused on modernising the sector with the view to enhancing food security.
Besides, Githaiga said the new information tool will give farmers an opportunity to share ideas, expertise and knowledge on diverse information about farm life for both plant and livestock production.
“This truly represents partnerships that if well nurtured will lead to improved extension service delivery through cheap and effective transmission of agricultural information and technology across the value chain,” said Githaiga.    The application of ICT solutions Githaiga observed in the delivery of extension services has the potential to increase productivity of Kenyan farmers’ majority of who are small scale farmers.
“Embracing use of ICT will complement traditional extension approaches while taking advantages of recent advancement of telecommunications and information technology where the percentage of households owing a completer or a mobile phone stands at 3.6 percent and 75.6 percent respectively while internet, connectivity exceeds 8 million,” he added.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has of late emphasized the need to modernise the agriculture sector with the view to enhancing productivity to tame food insecurity.

 Adopted from the standard newspaper

9 October 2013

Help A Child Reach 5

Every year 2 million children under the age of 5, die of infections like Diarrhoea and Pneumonia.

For the past 10 years, Lifebuoy soap has tried to help prevent these deaths by teaching children the simple act of washing hands with soap.

They now take their life saving mission to Thesgora, an Indian village with one of the highest rates of Diarrhoea.

Watch and like this amazing video http://bit.ly/1ctZgve and Help a Child reach 5
Share Lifebuoy's Help A Child Reach 5 movement video with your friends, and they will donate 1 Kenyan Shilling towards saving lives through hand washing.

27 August 2013

Impact of Virunga national park oil exploration

Congo has allocated oil concessions over 85% of the Virunga  national park, home to rare mountain gorillas for oil exploration to a British company courtesy of the Guardian. What is your take?

29 July 2013

Push–Pull technology

For large scale and small scale maize farmers to realize efficient production,there needs to be minimal infection in their crop which can be achieved by adopting the Push–Pull technology

What is push–pull technology?
It is a strategy for controlling agricultural pests that uses a repellent "push" intercrop and an attractive trap "pull" plant
push–pull technology
push–pull technology

How it works
How it works
This is achieved by planting napier grass on field edges and desmodium between maize rows.The desmodium between the maize rows repel insects while the napier grass on the field edges attract insects to lay eggs but produce a sticky compound that disables larvae.The eggs do not metamorphosis into larvae because the nappier does not guarantee ideal conditions for development.

  • Control of stem borers using pesticides is not only expensive and harmful to the environment, but usually ineffective as the chemicals cannot reach deep inside the plant stems where stem borer larvae reside
  • Farmers using Push-Pull technology for pest control reap three harvests: maize, napier grass and desmodium
  • Desmodium is a leguminous crop which improves soil fertility, reduces evaporation by acting as mulch helping in water conservation,.