KALRO Empowers Farmers with Technology for Enhanced Agricultural Productivity

By Seliphar Machoni

The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO) is harnessing technology to empower farmers with the latest advancements in research.

Dr Felister Makini, KALRO’s Deputy Director-General overseeing crops, underscored the organization’s dedication to ensuring agricultural technologies are readily accessible to farmers.

Speaking at the 13th KALRO Seeds Mkulima Shop Cum Expo in Kakamega, Dr Makini highlighted the pivotal role of digital platforms in delivering services to farmers for informed decision-making, ultimately aiming to enhance production and productivity.

“The primary objective is to ensure that the seeds and other agricultural technologies developed by KALRO are readily available to farmers,” Dr Makini stated.

“Our shop serves as a One-Stop-Shop where farmers can procure certified KALRO seeds and gain insights into good agricultural practices.”

She emphasized KALRO’s mandate to bolster the agricultural sector through research coordination, regulation, and innovation development, aligning with the government’s Bottom-Up Transformation Agenda (BETA) for food security and economic growth.

Farmers receive agronomic advisories, access to a toll-free call centre, SMS alerts, and online resources covering various farming activities through mobile applications.

“We also operate a toll-free call centre, send out SMS alerts, and maintain online platforms where farmers can access information about farming activities,” Dr Makini explained.

“Be it poultry farming or other agricultural pursuits, we provide tailored guidance to meet farmers’ needs as part of our last-mile initiative.”

Meru Mwangi, Kakamega County Commissioner, underscored the significance of 4K clubs in schools for promoting agricultural awareness and skill development among students, fostering a positive attitude towards farming.

Benjamin Andama, Kakamega County Executive Member for Agriculture and Livestock Development, lauded the establishment of the Mkulima Shop, envisioning it as a hub for disseminating research information to farmers, thereby bridging the gap between research and practice.

“Research and technology often fail to reach the grassroots, but initiatives like this should help rectify that,” Andama added.

During the expo, Peter Atema, a farmer from Kakamega County, Lurambi constituency, expressed enthusiasm for the transformative potential of agricultural technology.

“I am excited about the opportunities that technology offers my farm,” he said. “It’s like having a wealth of knowledge at my fingertips right here in my village.”

Peter eagerly anticipated leveraging digital innovations to optimize his farming practices, accessing vital information conveniently through his smartphone.

“With just a few taps on my phone, I can access crucial information about crop varieties, best practices, and weather forecasts. Technology has truly levelled the playing field for small-scale farmers like me,” he explained.

In Peter’s view, embracing technology enhances individual livelihoods and fosters community resilience and prosperity.

“By embracing technology, we are improving our livelihoods and contributing to the greater good,” he remarked. “Together, we can build a brighter future for generations to come.”

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