Screen shot of a banana app by KALRO.
The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) in partnership with USAID last week Tuesday launched 14 more mobile application platforms which are set to help farmers in production of different types of crops to add up on the apps which were introduced last year.
In April last year KALRO launched dryland crops, indigenous chicken and range pastures seed production mobile apps which has witnessed over 60,000 downloads of which a half were done by various international users.
“It is encouraging by among other things the number of downloads by various users from the country and beyond interested in these apps for their production activities. In fact more than a half of them came from countries such as the Us, Russia, Assia, UK and India,” said Simon Mulwa, KALRO ICT officer.
“This number is even bigger if we were to include those people who received the apps manually from others who have downloaded them. During last year’s Nairobi International Agricultural Trade Fair alone, we shared the three apps with over 600 farmers who visited our stand indicating how farmers are thirsty for the information.”
The fourteen apps launched on Tuesday include Avocado, banana, garlic, guava, pomegranate and spider flower production, FAW, GLS, MLN and PCN disease control apps. Others are mahindi-bora Kenya highlands, new KALRO cowpea varieties and guideline on production of medicated feed blocks.
The apps give step by step information on how to manage avocado, banana, garlic, spider flower and cassava farming. It touches on critical aspects from planting to harvesting and marketing besides informing farmers how to identify and control diseases which attack the crops.
According to the KALRO’ s ICT Department, the apps if well used by farmers will help ease their work by cutting cost and time of production hence improving yields.
“Our goal is to create impact through transfer of technologies that enhance agricultural productivity, commercialization, trade and improved nutrition,” said Mulwa during East Africa Farmers Digital conference.
We have also realized that most smallholder farmers run their farm production activities without expertise knowledge while big players in the sector rely on data which is could be expensive for the small-scale farmers hence they run into production and marketing problems.
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For banana production for example, the app gives various varieties of tissue culture bananas and their characteristics, target production areas, temperature and water requirements, site selection and land preparation, planting requirements, and pest and diseases management.
Finally, it has banana harvesting, post-harvesting storage and market information.
Farmers can download all the apps from play store provided they have a smart phone and internet connection.