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Varsity acquires State- of- the- Art Server to facilitate seamless interaction in agricultural value chain  

The Cooperative University has taken a major step in transforming Kenya’s agricultural landscape, with the acquisition of a state-of-the-Art server, which is aimed at enhancing farmer’s productivity and income.

Donated by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the technological asset, is poised to spearhead the Kenya Rural Transformation Centres Digital Platform (KRTCDP), a pioneering initiative, aimed at enhancing farmer connectivity, combating market cartels, and bolstering farmer incomes.

Cooperative University Vice- Chancellor, Prof Kamau Ngamau, said the institution is set to leverage the digital infrastructure, to facilitate seamless interactions between farmers and various stakeholders across the agricultural value chain.

Through the KRTCDP project, smallholder farmers will gain unprecedented access to vital services, including input suppliers, agro-dealers, and pertinent public resources.

The project, officially launched in May last year, is expected to put farmers at the Center of a single electronic platform and connect them with all actors, along the agricultural sector value chain.

Stressing the potential of the project, Prof Ngamau affirmed ongoing collaborations with numerous co-operatives, poised to support farmers engaged in key value chains, targeted by the project, such as maize, Irish potatoes, and dairy.

Harnessing the ubiquity of mobile technology, farmers will utilize their smartphones to access a suite of services, ranging from market information to real-time weather updates, crucial for informed decision-making in agricultural practices.

“This milestone marks the commencement of an ambitious journey towards empowering our farmers and enhancing the efficiency of our agricultural sector,” said Prof Ngamau, highlighting the Institution’s readiness to initiate the project’s implementation Phase.

Central to the initiative’s objectives, is the enhancement of productivity, profitability, and sustainability within agricultural co-operatives, thereby, fortifying the broader agricultural and trade value chains.

Notably, beneficiaries comprise an adverse array of stakeholders, including agricultural co-operatives, agro-dealers, and smallholder farmers, alongside private sector entities, financial institutions such as the Co-operative Bank of Kenya, government agencies, development partners, and researchers.

Speaking on the technical capabilities of the server, Prof Isaac Nyamongo,the  Deputy Vice-Chancellor, highlighted its cutting-edge specifications, including dual Intel Xeon Platinum processors, ensuring unparalleled computing power and speed.

Prof Nyamongo said the server is equipped with 24 Hard Drives, boasting ample storage capacity to accommodate the evolving needs of the university’s digital ecosystem.

The KRTCDP project is funded through the African Development Bank’s Fund for Africa Private Sector Assistance (FAPA) and is poised to undergo a pilot Phase across Nakuru, Baringo, and Narok Counties.

During the launch last year, Agriculture Secretary, State Department of Crop Development, Josephat Muhunyu, said modern technology is key and is the only way to bring the youth to be onboard and become smart farmers.

“This project is to address smart farming endeavor and we will be using the digital platform and digital centers, where the young farmers can get information and see interest and opportunities in the agriculture sector, “he pointed out.

The KRTCDP project is in line with the national development plan, which is, to revive and make the agriculture sector profitable and sustainable for better livelihoods, and resonates well with the new National Government’s Agriculture Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy (ASTGS) 2019-2029 which lays out the Special Economic Processing Zones to implement in Kenya to harness agricultural development.

The Government through the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA), emphasizes the need to strengthen the agriculture value chain and the 2023-2024 budget is set to finance agricultural activities with specific emphasis on value chains and linking smallholder farmers to the forward and backward linkages on the same digital platform.

By Wangari Ndirangu


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