Kirinyaga County Government has partnered with Safaricom to help disseminate agricultural information to farmers.
Governor Anne Waiguru opened a one stop shop where farmers can buy subsidised inputs and access content on agriculture to boost production.
The shop “DigiFarm” at Ngurubani market will see farmers get information on inputs after sending a request through *283# a free Safaricom service following the partnership.
“This free access to farming information will no doubt assist our farmers increase productivity of the various crops and their livestock,” Ms Waiguru said.
The governor said all farmers will be registered to prevent exploitation by unscrupulous suppliers of inputs.
She asked the Agriculture CEC Jakan Gutun to prepare data on farmers in the county to help in effectively addressing their challenges.
The governor announced that the county government has embarked on implementation of two strategies towards realisation of profitable farming. The strategies include increased productivity, commercialisation and competitiveness of agricultural commodities and enterprises.
The second strategy was to develop and manage key factors of production such as soils.
Small scale farmers
Speaking after officially opening an exhibition organised by the Kenya Livestock Producers Association at Wanguru stadium, Mwea yesterday, Waiguru said although the county produces the best coffee in the world, farmers were yet to reap benefits from the crop due to cartels and middlemen in the sector.
She said about 64,000 small scale farmers have formed 16 cooperative societies which have factories where the commodity is processed before being taken to millers and marketers.
The crop whose production is expected to increase to 35,000 metric tons will earn the farmers Sh2.5 billion.
“The county is set to work closely with the stakeholders in the coffee sector particularly cooperative societies on strategies to increase quantity and quality,” she said.
The governor further said the county is the largest producer of aromatic rice grown in Mwea.
During the just ending season farmers produced 75,000 tons of the crop on 9,000 hectares of land.
She attributed the good harvest to reliable water supply, effective control of Quelea Quelea birds which destroy the crop and availability of subsidised fertiliser.