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Farmers to access inputs vouchers via Safaricom platform

FARMERS-THIKANAIROBI, Kenya, May 29 – Safaricom and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries have embarked on the pilot of a joint initiative that aims at giving farmers access to a technology-based solution for the distribution of fertilizer and other key inputs.

The solution, named ‘E-fertilizer Subsidy Management System’ is an electronic vouchering solution allowing farmers to access vouchers via their mobile phones.

It will also enable the government plan future requirements in terms of fertilizer types and quantities.

The vouchers will be used by the farmers to access government fertilizer at subsidised prices.

Agriculture Principal Secretary Sicily Kariuki says should the pilot be successful the solution will allows the government to increase transparency in the allocation of fertilizer to over 3.5 million small-holder farmers across the country using mobile phones.

The solution leverages data and SMS services to manage the issuance, redemption and reconciliation of vouchers.

Registration of farmers to benefit from the program as well as agro-dealers is being carried out by the ministry.

The information will be stored within a central database which will then be used to ensure that each farmer is allocated the correct amount of fertilizer.

The solution also allows for the verification and vetting of farmer profiles, as well as allowing those in the system to request, redeem and reconcile vouchers through their mobile phones.

A dry system run will be done in Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia and Bungoma counties in preparation for next season subsidy fertilizer distribution.

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In this regard, the ministry appeals to farmers to register for the program during the dry run.

“Mobile technology has the ability to revolutionize traditional distribution models and enhance supply chain issues. This turn-key solution is just one of several that Safaricom hopes will transform the operations of businesses across Kenya,” said Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore.

The solution will also allow the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock & Fisheries to establish a network of dealers and reduce the cost of distribution of fertilizer to farmers while creating a first-of-a-kind database of stakeholders such as Agro-dealers, County agricultural extension workers, and Ministry of Agriculture staff.

The program is one of a number of interventions that the ministry hopes will streamline access to vital services and products in the agriculture sector, including using technology to provide information services to farmers.

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