MOBILE PHONES THE PREFERRED PLATFORM FOR KENYA’S FARMERS TO ACCESS INFORMATION

NAIROBI– Mobile phones are the preferred platform which farmers in Kenya use to access market information and financial services, according to a new study released by the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) here.

The study, on the Realization of Full Potential of the Agriculture Sector: Is Commercial Financing a Care Missing Gap, states that mobile telephony is having a transformative impact on delivery of extension services, market information and financial services.

The report, which is based on anecdotal evidence, shows that this is the one area where past public sector investments through increased expenditure, policy regulatory reforms, could generate the greatest impact.

KBA chief executive officer Habil Olaka said even though telecommunication,among other infrastructure services such as roads and electricity, is limited in most parts of the rural areas, substantial numbers of farmers are using the gadget to receive information.

This, he added, is one area where past public sector investments through increased expenditure, policy and regulatory reforms could have generated the greatest impact by ensuring the farmers make proper decisions.

However, a section of private sector players have faulted the provision of some organizations that are using mobile phones to provide information to smallholders saying some messages lack quality.

Speaking on the sideline of the release of the report by the KBA, Stephen Muchiri, the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation chief executive officer, said although the mobile telephone has been seen to transform the extension services it needs to be complemented with other forms of service delivery.

Agriculture extension needs assessment that we have done, radio is still the most preferred form of agriculture extension and we need to ensure that the messaging of the information being conveyed to famers is the same, he said.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK