A new technological invention aimed at helping farmers to access information on markets has been launched in Laikipia. The Sokopepe marketing system will enable farmers and other producers meet buyers through a mobile phone system.
The technology was launched at Sipili in Laikipia county on Friday by Arid Lands Information Network, an NGO, in partnership with the Ford Foundation. According to the technology, farmers will send a short message on their mobile phones to know the price of their produce in any particular market.
Buyers can know the prices of commodities in every part of the country by an SMS to 20245. The organisation's regional director James Nguo said the initiative is aimed at harnessing the power of ICT to enable farmers to efficiently reach and exploit fair market prices for their produce.
He said it has been difficult for farmers to know the available markets. "They just need to type the name of the produce and in which particular area they want to sell," Nguo said. He said the technology will increase efficiency in the agricultural value chain providing a platform for farmers to share information and execute electronic transactions.
The project is being piloted at Ng'arua Maarifa Centre in Laikipia county. Nguo said the project is appropriate in the rural areas where farmers get it hard to reach town centers to sell their produce. "The telephones are easier to get and every farmer can get access to one. This will make it easier for them to know where and when to sell the products," he said.
Nguo said pastoral communities can register with Sokopepe to know the prices at which to sell their livestock.