Douglas Adjei receiving weather tip calls from Farmerline. Photo credit: Farmerline.
A new technology has been launched to enable Nakuru farmers access fast hand information on best farming practices from agricultural experts via Short Message Service (SMS), WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and calls, complementing the work of agricultural extension officers in the area.
The technology which will be provided by Nakuru Farmers Call Centre Technology will see farmers make inquiries by calling or texting agricultural experts at the centre and get feedback as fast as possible hence filling the gap left by a shortage of extension officers.
“Food security can only be attained if farmers are equipped with the necessary knowledge. That is why this centre was established to provide the growers with best possible advice on any aspect of farming to improve production,” said the centre’s coordinator Shelmith Mucoki.
Farmers will be provided with information on what crops to plant in different areas, the type of fertiliser and pesticides to be used among others.
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Livestock farmers will also be provided with information on how to control pests and diseases as well as feeding their animals to improve production of milk, beef and eggs, among other products.
Mucoki said they had given out numbers farmers can use to call for inquiries.
“The technology does not restrict the kind of phone to be used. A farmer in need of information can call or text call centre,” he said.
According to An overview of social media use in agricultural extension service delivery by Usmanu Danfodiyo of University of Sokoto and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur of Rahman Agricultural University and released in 2017, agricultural extension service delivery is primarily a communication process therefore proper integration of social media is necessary.
By April, 2017, Social media’s active users had reached around 3 billion globally with Facebook leading at 64.7 per cent worldwide.