Kenya has been ranked the leading country in Africa in the use of technology to boost agriculture by a European Union-funded CTA firm.
If the use of digital farming technologies is well implemented, Kenyan farmers can increase their annual profits by between 7.1 percent and 76.3 percent, as had been predicted by UK innovation foundation Nesta.
In its report, the CTA firm said that increased use of agriculture technology in Kenya has been boosted by the deep penetration of mobile phones in rural areas which has triggered the relative digital savvy population to use digital solutions to tackle farming challenges.
In 2018, data by Communications Authority of Kenya showed that mobile penetration in Kenya had hit 100 percent with active customer subscription standing at 46.6 million.
“While Digitalisation for Agriculture (D4Ag) solutions are present in at least 43 out of 49 Sub-Sahara African countries, over half of the solutions are headquartered in East Africa and nearly two-thirds of registered farmers across all solutions are based in EAC region, with Kenya leading the way,” the report stated.
The report noted that technology could drive greater engagement in agriculture from women and young people and support employment opportunities along the agricultural value chain.
Agriculture remains the dominant sector of the economy, accounting for more than a third of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Kenya’s rapid adoption of mobile technology has pushed many International companies to explore how technology can be used to alleviate some of the inefficiencies in the agricultural sector.
Some of these firms that have leveraged on technology include software development company IBM which launched a project in Kenya that enables farmers to use weather data and IoT to predict suitable conditions for farming.
The tech giant also partnered with Nairobi-based Twiga Foods to Introduce Blockchain-based microfinancing for food kiosk owners in Kenya.
In April 2019, World Bank also launched a digital agriculture technologies innovation platform that provides solutions around productivity, market access, financial inclusion and information to farmers.
Online digital commodity trading and information system, Soko+, links farmers to bulk buyers across the country enabling farmers to earn more income and improve their livelihoods.
Another digital solution is Eska, a mobile app developed which is used to detect crop diseases and deficiency of important nutrients such as phosphorus.
Many Africans rely on agriculture as a source of livelihood, disruptive agriculture technology has the potential to vastly improve farm productivity, help farmers to cope with climate risks and raise farm-derived incomes by taking the guesswork out of farming and marketing operations.
Featured Image Courtesy: agrocares