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Friday, 13 June 2014

UNDP funded grantees in Laikipia urged to embrace Sokopepe

By Bob Aston
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) funded grantees operating in Laikipia County have been urged to introduce Sokopepe in their various projects. Speaking during an inception workshop organized by Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) for knowledge sharing project supported by UNDP Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) at Beisa Hotel in Nanyuki on June 10, 2014. Mr. Anthony Mugo, ALIN-Deputy Director said that Sokopepe has been supporting the agricultural sector in Kenya by offering market information and farm records management services.
Mr. Mugo addressing participants
The UNDP GEF SGP  funded grantees present at the workshop included; Kantuka Community Based Organization, Upper Ewaso Narok Water Resource Users Association, Rumuruti Forest Association, Ilmamusi Forest Association, Tuungane Tusaidiane community project, Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN), Sustainable Agriculture Community Development Programme (SACDEP), Segera Jirani na Mazingira, Yiaku Laikipia Trust and Laikipia Central Community Development (LAICCODO).
Also present included representation from Agricultural Sector Development Support Programme (ASDSP) and the Laikipia County Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, Fisheries, Livestock Development, Environment and Natural Resources.
Mr. Mugo said that Sokopepe Ltd currently has two services. SOKO+ which is one of the services is a digital commodity trading and information system linking small scale farmers to end retailers. He said it provides commodity prices from major markets around the areas of operation and beyond, e –extension services and a listing of various technical and logistical providers.
“SOKO+ provides commodities prices, farm inputs, service providers, farming and livestock tips and secure mobile payment solutions,” said Mr. Mugo.
He informed the participants that to register for the service one needs to send an sms to 20245 REG#IDnumber#FirstName#LastName#County then wait for a confirmation message to activate his or her account.
Mr. Mugo also introduced the second service called Farm Records Management Information System (FARMIS-Kenya) which he said is operating under license from FIT-Uganda.
Participants pose for a picture with Laikipia County Agriculture Minister
He urged the UNDP funded grantees operating in Laikipia County to introduce their farmers to FARMIS which he said is a farm management and diagnostic tool based on the use of farm records.
“FARMIS was developed for use by diverse stakeholders in the agriculture sector aimed at identifying productivity trends, profitability of different farm enterprises and producing evidence for use in decision making at the farm, county and national levels,” said Mr. Mugo.
Mr. Mugo informed the participants that FARMIS has various benefits like; Enhancing informed decision making, easing accountability and burden of proof when dealing with service institutions, calculating profit and loss in the farm, providing 24-hour online platform access, market linkages, online interactive reports, farming activity calendar and season crop card provided for reference.
“Poor record keeping is one of the major challenges many farmers in Kenya face in management of their farms, as many of them are unaware about the importance and value of record and information management,” said Mr. Mugo.
He said FARMIS will enable a farmer to capture a farm’s profile and record all their farming enterprises capturing costs of tilling, inputs, labour, harvesting and post-harvest operations for crops and similar records for livestock. Registered farmers will purchase a Farm Book at Kshs. 850 per year for better records keeping and management.
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