The first edition of the East Africa digital farmers conference and exhibition 2018 has officially kicked off at KALRO grounds, Loresho, Nairobi. The three-day event goes under the theme ‘enabling agribusiness and food security through ICT’. The event will cover several topics namely enhancing crop and livestock productivity, market linkages through ICT, improved awareness, and information dissemination, strengthened policy and regulation, research development and capacity building efforts for enhanced application of ICT in agriculture.
The regional conference seeks to bring together end users, service providers, disseminators, regulators, policy formulators, and technology developers of ICT solutions in the agricultural sector to foster growth in agribusiness and food security for the region.
Speaking at the opening of the conference and exhibition, Agriculture Research PS. Hon. Prof. Hamadi Boga says, “With this kind of conference we are sure that our farmers shall not perish for lack of knowledge. We have invested in heavy technology and are open to different innovations in agriculture.”
ICT plays a key role in improving smallholder farmers in agricultural productivity. Also, through improved ICT processes, e-agriculture can be used to boost agricultural and rural development. E –agriculture is one of the action lines identified in the Declaration and Plan of Action of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), as a key driver in ensuring systematic use of ICT in agriculture in order to provide access to a comprehensive, up to date and detailed information, particularly in rural areas. (Ref: http://www.itu.int/net/wsis/index.html, 2017)
Smallholder farmers are faced with lots of challenges as they try to reach their produce to the market. These challenges comprise of access to markets, inadequate infrastructure, low capacity to innovate, adverse effects of climate change, plant pests and diseases, poor seed, informal marketing structures and poor market access, weak multisector linkages, weak policy, failed extension services, and lack of timely dissemination avenues for agricultural information, among others. (Source, East Africa digital farmer)
These issues can be addressed through the use of ICT to enable smallholder farmers to get maximum optimum results from their produce
Lastly, the World Bank has piloted big data to enable smallholder farmers to get optimum results from their products and avoid losses.
The conference is hosted by the Smart Farmer Magazine in partnership with KALRO.