Information and Communications Technology (ICT) experts have urged farmers to embrace Mobile applications and ICT platforms, which they indicated have the potential to transform farmers’ lives by vastly improving access to markets and the performance of the agricultural sector in the region.
The experts indicated that farmers were reluctant to exploit or invest in the platforms which they said were beneficial in aggregation of data, transmission, storage and dissemination of key information, providing newer business opportunities and facilitating early warning and disaster management systems.
They said advances in mobile telephony and digital transformation will enhance agricultural extensions with over 80% of humanity having access to at least one form of ICT tools such as mobile phones, radio or television.
The experts were speaking at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology during a two-day regional workshop (September 12 – 13, 2019) with the theme ICT in Agriculture.
The workshop which was organized by the ICT Support Project of the Legume Center of Excellence in Food and Nutrition Security (LCEFoNS), was aimed at bringing together ICT researchers, practitioners and stakeholders in the region, to share their expertise and experience on the relevance and application of ICT in agriculture.
In a speech read by Prof. Stephen Kimani, a lecturer at JKUAT and LCEFONS South Project Leader (ICT SUPPORT), Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs, Prof. Robert Kinyua, expressed his delight in the impact of the project saying it has enhanced JKUAT’s human and infrastructural capacity in data science for research and domain applications.
While applauding LCEFoNS for its contributions towards food security in the region, Prof. Kinyua said the LCEFoNS projects, will develop a supportive, transversal set of skills and tools that will help JKUAT improve its research performance in Computer Science and food security.
Prof. Engineer Bainomugisha of Makerere University, who made a presentation on harnessing internet of things for sustainable agriculture, said a new technology known as “internet of things” (IoT) will enable precision agriculture where every process can be monitored to reduce waste and improve agricultural productivity.
He said IoT uses data analytics to customize operations so as to maximize agricultural output based on variable inputs.
During presentations,Mrs Lucy Karanja, Content Manager, Center of Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), warned that with global population predicted to be 9 billion by 2050, farmers especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, should turn to ICT to solve common problems in order to achieve food security and eradicate poverty.
The workshop was jointly sponsored by JKUAT, Free University of Brussels, KU Leuven and Makerere University.