• Fertile ground

    Fertile ground

    Smallholder farmers in Kenya can now use their cellphones to receive electronic vouchers for government fertiliser at subsidised prices. The e-Fertiliser Subsidy Management System pilot, which is a joint initiative by Safaricom and the country’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, leverages data and text-messaging services to manage the vouchers, according to a report by Biztech Africa.

    Once a farmer’s profile is set up with the ministry, the system allows them to request, redeem and reconcile vouchers via their cellphone. The information is then stored on a central database to ensure that each farmer is allocated the correct amount of fertiliser. E-Fertiliser will also allow the ministry to establish a network of dealers and further reduce the cost of distributing fertiliser to farmers.

    Sicily Kariuki, Principal Secretary at the Department of Agriculture, says: ‘Our solution, should the pilot be successful, will allow us to increase transparency in the allocation of fertiliser to over 3.5 million smallholder farmers across the country using cellphones.’

    9 June 2015
    Image: Gallo/GettyImages