The Knowledge Gap
In Kenya and across the continent, small holder farmers contribute highly to the food security in their countries, accounting to over 75% of the food produced. However, the need to produce more food in less land has resulted in these farmers transitioning into unsustainable farming practices that have affected the soils most. The rate of replenishing the soils has been low compared to the nutrient uptake. More pressure is expected from the need to feed 2 Billion more people in the next 3 decades!
One of the factors that have prolonged unsustainable farming practices is the knowledge gap that exists among the smallholder farmers. Most of these farmers have relied on traditional practices, often practising low technology farming, and making largely uninformed decisions, especially on input selection and use.
Extension services in the continent are scarce, in the case of Kenya, whilst 75% of the population makes a living from farming; there is an estimated 5000 extension workers in the country! This makes it impossible to reach the farmers, who really need the knowledge and best practices!
This calls for innovative solutions and models to improve access to knowledge and information to these smallholder farmers. By improving knowledge dissemination to farmers, we increase their ability to be economically attractive, able to make better decisions and reduce production risks! It’s by knowledge driven farming that we can effectively counter the effects of the changing weather, depleting soils and diminishing farm lands.
At the core of UjuziKilimo’s technology is the need to solve the knowledge gap, by integrating sensors, mobile technologies and other data sources to provide timely, tailored and actionable information to the small holder farmers. Indeed the future of knowledge delivery to farmers in digital tools, and with Kenya’s 90% mobile penetration , we are taking lead in using this revolutionary tool to help digitize small holder farming.
Sensors to match inputs to soil requirements
60% of African soils are depleted and in Kenya, poor fertiliser practices have led to further acidifying soils, with minimal benefits to farmers. We have built a tool that any farmer could use to understand their soil needs what inputs they need and what to do to manage a crop from maturity till harvest. A farmer only needs to stick the sensor device in the ground and within three minutes get an SMS with the quantity of fertilizers they needed based on the quality of the soil. We want farmers to make informed decisions around input selection to help them not invest a lot in something that won’t make economic sense to them.
Other Data sources to personalise insights
UjuziKilimo has built a comprehensive database of information, covering personalised farmer interactions, Satellite weather data, soils data and crop data. This data is transformed into actionable insights delivered to farmers in a simple, actionable and trackable way over SMS and USSD.