The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development today launched the Kenya Integrated Agriculture Management Information System Phase II (KIAMIS), aimed at registering farmers and establishing a national central farmer’s database.
KIAMIS is a digital platform that enables the Ministry to organize and put famers’ data together to be used as reference when releasing funds to support all farmers in the 47 counties.
Speaking at the launch, Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Agriculture and Livestock Development, Mithika Linturi, said that the Kenya Kwanza Government aspires to establish sustainable systems for increasing agricultural productivity, nutritional security and ensuring that prices of basic food items are affordable.
Linturi revealed that the Ministry has already demonstrated the use of KIAMIS, by registering farmers in Nyandarua and Uasin Gishu counties and implemented the fertilizer subsidy on a pilot basis.
He added that the results of the pilot indicated that KIAMIS is capable of assisting the Ministry in implementing the sustainable E-subsidy programme, and address some of the challenges facing fertilizer subsidy programmes.
Linturi cited lack of accountability as the biggest challenge faced by the Ministry in trying to support farmers’ programmes, adding that recent data shows a list of only 1.3 million validated farmers available in a country of 6.4 million farmers.
“To overcome this challenge, the government has launched a rapid national farmers registration through the National Government Administration, including the Chiefs, Assistant Chiefs and village elders, leading to an increment of the registered farmers up to 4.2 million,” said Linturi.
Linturi reiterated that the Ministry will work with the county governments in ensuring that they have accurate data which will enable them to distribute the correct amount of seedlings and fertilizers that farmers require, as per the acreage of land they own.
The CS revealed that fertilizers have already been released in Kitale, Bomet and Narok, at a price of Sh3,500 and therefore urged farmers to buy the fertilizers.
He nevertheless disclosed that the Ministry has held discussions with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) team, to help them in expanding the KIAMIS initiative, a system that has helped them validate all farmers in a known central database.
At the same time, Carla Mukavi, from the FAO team said that her team is ready to work with the Ministry in supporting farmers with mechanization and other materials they require in their agricultural activities.
Meanwhile Anna Brandt, Sweden’s Ambassador to Kenya, who was also in attendance, stated that the Swedish government is ready to support Kenyan farmers by marketing their products and educating them on new methods of farming.
“The government of Sweden has donated US$5.2 million to help the Ministry with the technical equipment needed to improve the Agriculture sector,” said Brandt.
The Ministry is using the KIAMIS platform to digitize the farmers’ records and ensure collection and sharing of data and statistics to support decision and policy making.
By Sylvia Kavisi and Trepher Leslie