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Thursday, 27 November 2014

Meru County department of agriculture hosts KFIE Technical Team

By Martin Murangiri
The Kenya Feed the Future Innovation Engine (KFIE) on November 20, 2014 held a meeting with Meru County department of Agriculture to inform the county government about the various projects that it is overseeing in the county. The meeting which was attended by among others Meru County Deputy Agriculture officer and KFIE head of Monitoring and Evaluation also served as a platform for introducing innovation groups to the County government.
Deputy County Director of Agriculture Mr. Kaburu represented the County Executive for Agriculture while Prof. Mutuku Kavoi, KFIE head of Monitoring and Evaluation, Mrs. Susan Nkirote and Mr. Victor Kimathi Mirori represented KFIE.
The innovation groups present during the meeting included; Lachlan, Real IPM, Quest Agriculture and Farm Records Management Information System (FARMIS-Kenya)
Real IPM in partnership with the University of Nairobi is developing a biological control of fruit flies in mangoes. The project is being undertaken in two farms in South Imenti. Lachlan has come up with a technology dubbed “Viazi power” that aims to increase potato production among small scale farmers.
Quest Agriculture has come up with an innovation that is helping farmers test and get their soil composition results within thirty five minutes. Initially farmers used to get their soil composition results after three months. They are using a portable kit which is carried to the farm when doing the testing.
Farmer in Laikipia County being shown how FARMIS works
FARMIS-Kenya is an innovation that helps farmers acquire new management skills in their farms. It is a farm management and diagnostic tool based on the use of farm records 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.
FARMIS-Kenya has Production Information Agents (PIAs) who have been provided with smart phones for digitizing farmer’s records. The PIAs goes round the farmers’ farm helping them to keep records of the expenses they have incurred on their farms as well as the crop enterprises. All these data is entered in the Farm Book which is also saved in a web site that is supported by a powerful and secure server.
By the end of the season the farmer is given a statement outlining the margin losses and profits he/she has made on the farm. With this, the farmer is able to make decision on the crop enterprise to concentrate on. Also, the farmer is advised on where to improve on his/her farm.
FARMIS-Kenya is operating in South Imenti, North Imenti, Central Imenti, Buuri and some part of Tigania in Meru County.
The KFIE is an initiative of Land O’ Lakes which it manages on behalf of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Innovations represented are helping farmers in terms of improving production, reducing the cost of production through coming up with means of curbing crop diseases, market linkages and new management skills.
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