Telecommunication firm, Safaricom has developed a technology-based solution known as E-fertilizer Subsidy Management System under the Ministry of Agriculture, to aid farmers’ access fertilizers and other inputs. The pilot project is an electronic vouchering solution that has been specially developed for the Ministry by Safaricom, allowing farmers to access vouchers through their mobile phones.
It will enable the government to plan future requirements in terms of fertiliser types and quantities.
How it works
The system uses data and SIS services to manage the issuance, redemption and reconciliation of vouchers from farmers on behalf of the Ministry’s input subsidization intervention programme.Farmers will be vetted and their details fed into a database before being issued with a unique code to access the commodity. Once details have been captured, the growers will receive a text message from the service provider confirming their registration details, the agro dealers participating in their locality and availability of fertiliser.
Farmers will then use the vouchers like cash to purchase the inputs from agro-dealers. This will do away with middlemen, ease distribution and avail fertiliser to farmers before the planting season starts. This initiative will also allow the government to boost transparency in allocation of fertiliser to over 3.5 million smallholders.
The piloting begins in Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia and Bungoma counties in preparation for the next season of subsidy fertiliser distribution. The digital system is expected to be both mobile phone and web-based, with data bases of targeted farmers and agro traders.In May 2015, Ministry of Agriculture imported a total of 510,000 tonnes of various types of fertilisers against an estimated demand of 490,000 tonnes.