A Kenyan research institution Thursday launched an e-service platform and three mobile apps which can deliver research updates and meteorological agency information to chicken, dryland crop and pasture seed farmers.

The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) said the move follows a comprehensive internet upgrade from Liquid Telecom Kenya.

“Now, we are able to communicate in real-time through our IP phones, equipped with video cameras, receive data from the field promptly, process it and channel it to the respective mobile app portals,” KALRO’s director of ICT Boniface Akuku said in a statement.
He said the organization is now advising farmers on the best agronomics practices for their geographical areas.

“Before the internet infrastructure and connection upgrades, we could spend days and incurred huge travelling and phone call costs in delivering information from our research centers across the country to the headquarters’ data center for processing and dissemination to farmers,” Akuku said.

Kenya’s innovation in agriculture and information delivery has received global recognition, with Planet of the Apps, a TV reality show about apps and talented developers, expected to feature KALRO’s app on Sept. 6-7 in the United States.

It is estimated that the livestock farming alone contributes to 7.9-10 percent of Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP) with the poultry industry contributing an estimated 1.7 percent. Poultry agriculture has emerged as a lucrative venture for young Kenyan farmers, particularly among small-scale farmers.

KALRO Director General Eliud Kireger said through the apps, the institution aims at empowering young farmers, who can now easily start farming poultry to raise their potential and increase their incomes.

“Farmers in these areas can now access information on soil and water management technologies, as well as seeds varieties that are tolerant to drought, pests and diseases, further improving food security,” said Kireger.

The KALRO Indigenous Chicken app is now offering farmers information on feeds, both as varieties and availability, diseases and animal breeds, in a bid to increase productivity from the current estimate of 32 million birds.

Adil Youssefi, CEO of Liquid Telecom Kenya, said technologies and internet-based agricultural infrastructures are reshaping the way farmers are producing livestock and crops, helping them adopt new methods of farming by accessing up-to-date data on crop varieties and farming methods.

“This, in turn, ensures food security and nutritious diets for millions of Kenyans,” said Youssefi. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh