BusinessTechnologyTechnology: Agricultural innovation gives small farmers advantage


Posted on Thursday, 14 November 2013 14:10

Technology: Agricultural innovation gives small farmers advantage

Kenya has 5 million farmers, including small subsistence growers and large industrial agriculturalists. File Photo©ReutersA cloud-based mobile platform that keeps track of pesticide residues in produce now makes it possible for small-scale farmers in Kenya to store and manage data on the pesticide content in their crops before exporting them.

Farmforce software, an initiative of the Swiss-based Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, will phase out time-consuming manual farm record-keeping and replace it with an online version that can be accessed by farmers freely via a mobile phone, according to Business Daily Africa of Kenya.

The Syngenta Foundation, backed by the Swiss government, developed the $2 million platform in 2011 with the help of a team based in Switzerland and a support team in Kenya.

The technology, used for all crops, is particularly useful where quality standards and traceability requirements for formal markets are an issue.

Ghana, Guatemala, Indonesia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe have expressed interest in the service.

With 5 million farmers, including small subsistence growers and large industrial agriculturalists, Kenya remains a hotbed of technological innovations for the agrarian community, according to the 2011 World Bank's e-sourcebook ICT in Agriculture.

Uganda is also using a cloud-based mobile platform to combine agricultural information and financial services designed for smallholder farmers, reports the Christian Science Monitor.

The technology allows farmers to order and pay for seeds and fertilizers with their mobile phones, and also collect payment for their produce using the same service.

Geoffrey Kamadi writes for United Nations Africa Renewal Magazine.



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