Embrace technology to boost food security

A Kenya Airways employee controls an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) as it spreads fertilizer over a tea farm

A Kenya Airways employee controls an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) as it spreads fertilizer over a tea farm at Kipkebe Tea Estate in Musereita on October 21, 2022.

Photo credit: Patrick Meinhardt | AFP

Agriculture is a major economic sector in Kenya. The main source of livelihood for the majority of the population, especially in rural areas, it contributes about a quarter of gross domestic product (GDP) and accounts for a large percentage of exports. The main crops grown include maize, tea, coffee, wheat and sugarcane.

Technology can be embraced in agriculture through the use of digital tools to improve communication and information sharing among farmers.

They can use mobile applications and websites to access market prices, weather forecasts and expert advice. That can help them to make more informed decisions about planting, harvesting and marketing their farm produce.

Precision farming techniques involve using data and technology to precisely monitor and manage crop growth, soil quality and weather patterns. Farmers can use drones equipped with cameras and sensors to map their farming fields and identify areas of poor soil quality or crop stress. 

They can also use precision irrigation systems to apply water and fertilisers only where and when they are needed, reducing waste and improving crop yields.

Technology can also help in improving the logistics and supply chain. This involves tracking the movement of goods from the farm to the consumer and using data to optimise logistics and reduce costs. Farmers can also use mobile apps to coordinate with buyers and other stakeholders in the supply chain in real-time.

Technology can also be used for financial transactions—such as digital payments, e-wallets and digital banking.

That can help farmers in rural areas to access a wider range of financial services and make transactions more efficient, even if they don’t have traditional banking services.

Technology has the capacity to revolutionise agriculture. Its effective use can increase crop yields, reduce costs and improve the lives of farmers. The government and other stakeholders should invest in technology and give farmers the resources and training to take advantage of it.

Dismas Kibor, Trans Nzoia

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More than a million Kenyans, mostly children, are malnourished as a result of the prevailing drought, shows a national report.

It is sad to see wildlife, crops and, more seriously, people succumb to drought-induced famine. The government should quickly focus attention and priorities to hunger to support life. This is the right time for officials to lead by example; as they have been saying, every life matters. 

At the individual level, let everyone continue channelling our contributions towards vulnerable fellow Kenyans. Let’s embrace brotherhood and sisterhood while we live.

Lincoln Kinyua, Kiambu

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