NAIROBI, May 29 (Xinhua) -- Kenya on Tuesday launched 14 mobile applications for farmers to enhance agricultural productivity, commercialization, trade and improved nutrition.
The digitization of agricultural value chain in Kenya will give farmers easier access to markets, accurately predict weather and let them enjoy quality seeds, said Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture and Irrigation Mwangi Kiunjuri.
"We are digitizing our agriculture to help ease agricultural processes, boost electronic commerce and provide open data for future use," Kiunjuri said during the opening of the East African Digital Conference in Nairobi.
He said Kenya is transforming agriculture as a paradigm shift, given that old ways of delivering important services to populations are becoming obsolete.
Knowledge and information can be effectively harvested for overall agricultural and rural development with the maximum use of information and communication technology (ICT), Kiunjuri said.
"We are ushering in a new revolution that will lower prices for consumers, contribute to smart agriculture and motivate farmers to increase their production," he said.
Kiunjuri announced that Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Organization (KALRO) is in the process of establishing the first big-data platform and high performance computing for agricultural research.
"The platform will help improve research data democratization and insights to inform policies, particularly on improving smallholder farmers' livelihoods under current and future data scenarios," he said.
The platform will increase the impact of agricultural development by embracing big-data approaches to solving agricultural problems faster, better and at greater scale than before, he added.
Boniface Akuku, KALRO's director of ICT, said the mobile applications that are made available Tuesday will help bridge the gap between research and practice.
"It will help farmers acquire genuine information, unlike the conventional model that was open to farmers receiving wrong information that led to growing of fake and un-recommended seeds," he said.
Akuku said the mobile applications will also help farmers see crops that have been attacked by pests and diseases and also show preventive measures.
"The farmers will from today see disease and pest varieties, time for harrowing, planting of seeds and also enable farmers report when they spot the pests," he added.