Woman selling vegetable sitting on the ground in the streets of a village in Nepal.

Impact of Agriculture to the Economy.

Agriculture is one of Kenya’s biggest earners; in fact, according to the World Bank agriculture contributes about 30% to the Kenyan GDP. With this information in mind, one would expect that Agriculture is one of the biggest fields to invest in Africa.

While that assumption is true, investing in agriculture has proved to be somewhat tricky.

Farming is a personal choice. Most farmers may find themselves in a geographical region that limits them to agriculture, but the decisions that they make in as far as their farming goes are terribly personal and to this end can be a bit tricky to track without the help of technology.

A good example is Ann, a maize farmer in Thika. In 2013, Ann’s two children joined high school and  suddenly , the income she was earning from maize farming  was no longer enough to sustain her family. Consequently, Ann turned half of the land she had devoted to maize farming into a passion fruit plantation. In 2014, Ann harvested her first passion fruit crop. While passion fruit farming was proving to be  great venture, Ann noted that maize market prices had risen and was interested in acquiring more land to put under maize farming.

Farmers, like Ann, are constantly trying out new crops in hopes of making more money. While this often works out and is great  for them, it makes it difficult for manufacturers to keep track of of these shifts until long after the harvest is under way.  Were both farmers and manufacturers to devote technology then, things would be easier for both parties.

Mobile technology is perhaps the most forthright answer to this problem. Using mobile technology Ann, for instance, would be able to calculate the optimum amount of maize to grow per hectare to ensure that while she is still trying out this passion fruit venture. By availing this information online, maize collectors and processors in Ann’s area would be in a position to estimate the amount of storage space needed. While manufacturers on the other hand would be able to calculate maize deficits, long before harvest season kicked in, and react appropriately.

But it is not just Ann, her processor and manufacturer that would benefit from the incorporation of technology in the maize. This same mobile technology would be used to measure against the markets, advising on the demand for maize products and consequently pricing and returns. Information that Ann, and farmers like her, can use to decide whether to increase their maize acreage or hold up.

Agriculture is a great source of revenue for the continent, but use of technology is set to make it even stronger. Virtual city has amazing products that will facilitate this.    

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