Andrew Mutua
Business Daily
Caleb Kositany
Gishu County
Mac Funches
Ministry of Agriculture
Mr Kositany
National Cereals
Pitstop Technologies
Pitstop Technologies Limited
Produce Board
Soy Constituency
Uasin Gishu County

What biometric platform will do for Soy farmers

What biometric platform will do for Soy farmers

Soy MP Caleb Kositany (left) and Mac Funches of Pitstop Technologies during the launch of ‘Mkulima Digital’ for Soy Constituency in Uasin Gishu County on Monday. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA

A constituency in Uasin Gishu County has rolled out an ambitious initiative which will see all farmers registered biometrically as the region moves to digitise agriculture. The project known as ‘Mkulima Digital’ aims to biometrically register all the farmers in the Soy Constituency digital database and establish their exact population.Soy MP Caleb Kositany said the data collected will be used to enhance agricultural and rural development as well as increase accountability and productivity for the benefit of farmers.

New platform to provide farmers with timely data

The platform is expected to reduce the amount of fertiliser lost due to people abusing the system and diverting part of the subsided input for personal gain.“We will use ‘Mkulima Digital’ to ensure fair allocation and equitable distribution of agricultural inputs, the fertiliser under subsidy programme, NCPB maize purchases, seeds and other inputs in the constituency. This will reduce wastage,” Mr Kositany told Digital Business during the launch of the initiative at the constituency’s office in Eldoret on Monday.“‘Mkulima Digital’ will also help us know the challenges farmers are facing in marketing and inform us how we can support them better.”The system will also determine the number and location of farmers as well as the acreage under agricultural production in the constituency. Besides, it will establish the exact acreage a farmer owns and the kind of fertiliser and chemicals needed for various crops and regions.“At the touch of a button we will be able to know what our farmers are doing as we will have all the GPS coordinates,” said Mr Kositany.

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“The initiative will enable us to map and locate farmers for more effectiveness and accountability. We want to make Soy a digital constituency. We want to establish the exact acreage our farmers have planted and under what crop.”He said the data gathered through the platform will come in handy when lobbying for necessary support from the national government, Ministry of Agriculture, the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) and other stakeholders. More fundamentally, the project will help farmers to cut production costs.Farmers have been complaining that agriculture does not pay since they get minimal returns after spending heavily on production.“This app will help us cut down on costs. We will, for instance, go to a single shopper for fertiliser and chemicals after knowing the exact number of farmers in our constituency,” said Mr Kositany.The constituency has partnered with Pitstop Technologies Limited to roll out the platform. The app, the company says, will be instrumental during research field days, soil testing analysis and in the provision of extension services to farmers.“The data will help locate farmers for the agricultural extension services offered by different stakeholders who include veterinary service providers, seed companies, agro-chemical companies ,among others,” Mr Mac Funches from Pitstop Technologies Limited told the Business Daily.The app will among others have biographic information of farmers including date of birth, face image and fingerprints, which will be stored biometrically. The app also has columns for farmers’ family: Spouse and number of children among other features.“The secured farmers’ information will help the constituency eliminate unwanted trends and track benefits from start to the end,” said Mr Funches.“The security of the farmers’ data is guaranteed and it cannot be compromised. Privacy is of paramount concern to us.”Mr Kositany said ‘Mkulima Digital’ will lead to better understanding and forecasting climatic patterns as well as the state of infrastructure across the constituency.“We want our farmers to be in tandem with weather changes,” said Mr Kositany.“It will also help us in infrastructure planning. For instance, it will help us know which road leads to where many farmers are found”.Such information will determine which roads will be given priority for improvement.The registration of farmers has been ongoing at chiefs’ offices in the constituency. There is also a plan for field agents to visit farms to digitally register farmers.“The registration, once rolled out fully, will help in vetting genuine farmers and eliminate unscrupulous traders in the delivery of maize to the NCPB,” said Pitstop Technologies CEO Andrew Mutua.

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