Farmers in Kenya will host their counterparts from East Africa during the inaugural East Africa Digital Farmers Conference and Exhibition on the 29th to 31st of May 2018 in a plan to tap into the enormous potential ICT holds for African agriculture.
The ‘digital farmers’ forum is organized by Kenya Agriculture and Livestock and Research Organisation, (KALRO) in conjunction with Smart Farmer Magazine at the KALRO grounds in Nairobi.
Among the technologies farmers will explore include the use of drones in different farming uses, use of spatial information for mapping and tracing farm location, exploring the use of e-transaction and e-ledger in crop payments as well as use of ICT in marketing crops as well as crowdfunding as method of raising capital.
The event will bring together government ministries, international development agencies, small and medium holder farmers, local and international investors, knowledge institutions, farmer groups and associations as well as the public in agriculture, technology, investment, finance and banking.
The conference stands to provide a platform for networking and knowledge sharing on how to best harness the power of technology in agriculture.
“We envisage digital driven farming geared towards the agricultural industry in Africa that is currently experiencing a transformation through the increased adoption of technology on different frontiers,” noted the organisers in a statement.
Through the digitization of agriculture, farmers can have easy access to markets, accurately predict the weather, enjoy superior seed quality and minimize crop wastage during harvesting and storage.
It will also highlight gains in the ICT sector that are fostering growth in agribusiness and food security in the East Africa Region while identifying opportunities for sustaining gains and furthering geographical and technological scope in ICT for agricultural development.
The use of technology by farmers has gained traction recently with several companies employing high levels of technology to solve old problems.
For example, IBM and Twiga foods in Kenya have successfully run a credit scheme to suppliers of groceries across Nairobi with the help of blockchain technology which has boosted quality and quantity of commodities.
In Zimbabwe, its bid to increase the popularity of bitcoin in the country, BitMari, a local startup has partnered with the Zimbabwe Bank of Agriculture in carrying out a women farmers accelerator program. The program seeks to give women farmers a jumpstart in agriculture, by raising funds through its crowdfunding campaign to equip them with farming inputs and tools.