mFarming is the leveraging of the ubiquity of mobile technology in the ICT sector to assist farmers in radically improving their agricultural yield capacity, by aiding them to receive vital agricultural information when they need it most, in whichever form they require it, be it through Voice or SMS. Subsequently, leading to the user being more efficient, the core aim of mFarming is to fill the knowledge gap experienced by local small-scale farmers in their farming activities in the timeliest manner.
MFarming applications dissipate this lacking farming information to the users to boost their yield.
Agriculture is the backbone of the Kenyan economy, accounting for 24% of total GDP being the single largest contributor to Kenya’s gross domestic product, and an estimated 45% of the revenue accrued by the Kenyan Government is attributable to the agricultural sector. Agriculture is the Number One Employer in the country accounting for 75% of the workers in Kenya. Agriculture is the true driver of the Kenya economy and being the most essential economic activity in the country, with 15% of Total land area mass sufficing for farming, with 8% being classified as first-class land.
8 Quick Facts about Kenya:
- – Population of Kenya : 41 Million
- – People Employed by Agriculture: 71%
- – Percentage of Kenyans living in the Rural Areas: 77%
–Ø Percentage of arable land: 17%
–Ø Estimated percentage of revenue from exports attributable to Farming: 50%
- – The Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organisation (KARLO) instituted by an act of parliament has an Asset Base of Kshs. 28 Billion with 3,294 staff
- – Estimated number of employees in the coffee sector amounts to about 6 Million
- – Number of estimated coffee farmers in the country: 150,000
This information includes the following:
What fertilizers to use for their crop
What time to plant
What time to harvest
Where to get the cheapest fertilizers
How to care for their livestock
Dissipates information on any disease outbreaks, and advises on what to do to ensure their livestock and crops aren’t affected.
Expected dates of calving
Educate a user on the different stages of crop growth and development, and advice on what is expected from them.
Educates its users on cost management, how to make savings, and how they could mitigate against the risks that can be encountered in the farming sector.
Notifies its user on where they could take their crop, and thus receive the best price.
Brings together farmers from across the country together to allow them to negotiate for the best possible prices for their crop as one, and thus empower farmers to negotiate from a position of strength.
A Kenyan Farmer harnessing the power of mobile farming technology
Mobile farming applications are taking Africa by storm, and in places such as Tanzania where agriculture is also the backbone of their economy; Z-Kilimo is being used by the Ministry of Agriculture, in conjunction with Zantel Tanzania and the Food Security and Cooperatives to provide rural farmers with vital farming information to hep improve their productivity and enhance the agricultural sector.
In other regions in the continent such as Ethiopia, which has the most far-reaching mFarming medium for educating its farmers in the continent, and the third largest in the world after China and India, according to the UN Development Programme; runs the largest multilingual mobile based resource centre in Africa.
This is operated by the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture, the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency and Ethio Telecom has been tremendously popular in Ethiopia. With being in operation for a mere three months, 3 Million farmers have contacted the centre seeking advise on farming practices, in its 3 months of pilot phase operation, in the regions of Amhara, Oromia, Tigray and the Southern Nations.
With an estimated 226 new calls being made to the center and 1,375 return calls per hour being made to the mFarming facility.
This consequently indicates just how Africa can consistently and more efficiently feed her children, leading to less people going hungry, taking away the pangs of hunger that keeps stealing our children due to malnutrition related causes, showing just how mFarming technology will continue to be harnessed, and the same will be critical if we are ever to halt the 92 Million children who yearly don’t ever get to see their 5th Birthday due to avoidable reasons, such as hunger.