Agri-IT

Agriculture is the backbone of the Kenyan economy, therefore, this post will be aligned a lot to a conversation on agriculture than any other industrial sector. A discussion on how we integrate IT concepts to agriculture that need not be new ideas, but rather tried and tested thoughts that work in foreign countries.

The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production. The Second used electric power to create mass production. The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production. (Source: weforum.org)

Kenya, well, we are still using ox-driven ploughs. And no, I am not laughing at the farmer doing so, I am sympathizing with your local MCA who is claiming needs tax sponsored trips to Israel to see how computers are being used to automate production. What is happening in developed countries is the fourth industrial revolution – the digital revolution where lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres is blurred. There’s a global shift to a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction (The Internet of Things – IoT).

In this digital era, talent is the most critical factor of production even more than capital. A disruption of the way things are done normally is a constant in this day and age. Like Uber did. Like Viusasa will do. Most industries in Kenya are slowly moving to technological solutions to existing problems. However, we need to take these changes to our devolved counties. Let it not be limited to Nairobi alone.

The government should adopt responsive governance like how the private sector responds to changing developments in the country. Like how butcheries saw it fit to have a competitive advantage by offering the service of cutting meat in pieces whilst selling it to their customers, so should the government embrace reinventing itself to adapt in the continuously changing Kenya. Although infrastructure is a noble idea, boosting agricultural produce and establishing a suitable trading environment for local farmers should be agenda discussed by regional governors. The recent (or ongoing) Mt. Kenya region governors meet up in Laikipia is a nice step to promote cohesion in the region. Their discussion on how the old railway will be revived to help grow the region is a decent idea yet a more progressive approach should be the reason of meeting.  Farmers need a suitable environment for marketing their produce, this can be done by fostering inter-county trade talks.

Farmers should be the richest persons we see around. Kenya should strive to trounce Denmark in dairy farming by learning from the Dane. We need to hear Kenyan cows are the most productive in the world, given we have a numerical advantage over the Danes in terms of population logistics. In Denmark, advisory service centers readily give advice on feeding, breeding and vet matters. There is also a national cattle database where individual cows are tracked with respect to milk yield and quality. It is safe to say that Denmark is in the 21st Century whereas Kenya we are stuck in the 18th Century, where we don’t even realize Industrial revolutions are being numbered. (Source: thedairysite.com)

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