A farmer information system to transform agrifood systems

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Information and the digitization of agricultural service delivery are essential catalysts for a robust food system. Accurate information about farmers and their businesses in Kenya, for example, can be a major asset in the decision-making process.

The existence of such a database of registered farmers linked to service providers will not only enhance service delivery through the provision of a range of services, but will also make agriculture attractive, especially for farmers. youth.

The government recognizes that agriculture is the backbone of our economy. Over the years, the government has supported farmers in their crop, livestock and aquaculture businesses to improve production for home consumption and income generation.

These efforts were, however, undermined by middlemen eager to exploit farmers and defraud the government. The use of third parties and manual processes to provide fertilizers and other agricultural inputs has in the past been tainted with corruption.

Digitization of these processes provides a foolproof system that enables auditing as it leaves an online footprint that improves transparency.

For a long time, farmers suffered at the hands of the cartels. Strategically positioned brokers at planting time when agricultural inputs are in high demand and at harvest time when farmers urgently need a good market for their produce. This will soon be a thing of the past as the government moves to improve farmer registration through the Kenya Integrated Agriculture Management Information System (KIAMIS).

KIAMIS; developed through a partnership between the government and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is a digital platform solution that improves the efficiency of service delivery to farmers.

The system provides important data and information to decision makers to improve food and nutrition security. The system uses a central digital farmer registry to provide additional services, such as input management, e-Extension content delivery, credit management, and mechanization services.

KIAMIS improves transparency and government oversight of input support programs in the agricultural sector. Transparency is increased by the real-time virtual reconciliation and monitoring provided by the system.

Policymakers gain a better understanding of input consumption patterns through the automated capture of farmers’ purchases at agribusiness outlets. In addition, it improves targeting of beneficiaries and reduction of ghost farmers, thus enhancing the impact of inputs. At the same time, KIAMIS will provide decision-makers with information on the production, performance and effectiveness of subsidy programs.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives, in collaboration with the Board of Governors (CoG) and with the support of FAO, has successfully piloted this system in the counties of UsinGishu and of Nyandarua.

The system currently supports farmer registration and electronic vouchers that allow farmers to obtain subsidized farm inputs through a smooth and fast process. The results of the pilot confirmed the versatility of this system in solving many of the challenges that farmers face while accessing the services and goods they need.

Although still at the pilot stage, the selected farmers were able to transparently obtain subsidized agricultural inputs from participating agrovets. For a selected package, the farmers paid 60% while the government paid 40%.

Kenya is not the first country in Africa to establish this system. A similar system is fully functional in Zambia. The Zambia Integrated Agricultural Management Information System (ZIAMIS). This was also developed with support from FAO and saved the Zambian government millions from losses directly attributable to cartels stationed along various nodes of the value chains. The result has been motivated farmers, thriving agricultural and animal production, and hard-hitting government subsidies.

Digitization of government operations has been shown to benefit citizens by increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery. HE President Uhuru Kenyatta during the Mashujaa Day celebrations noted how the digitization of land registers in Kenya is transforming land ownership with benefits that extend to other sectors. He summed it up by saying that the future of effective and efficient government service delivery lies in the integration of information and communication technologies.

FAO, through its land governance program, has been a major player in the digitization of land registers and extends this to the digitization of farmer registration and service delivery in the agricultural sector.

(Professor Hamadi Boga is the Senior Secretary of State of the Department of Crop Development and Agricultural Research.

Ambassador Carla Mucavi is the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations -FAO, representative in Kenya)


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