New app makes farmers accountable to consumers

New app makes farmers accountable to consumers

The sunny weather in Timau allowed us to see the peak of Mt Kenya as we drove on.

The mountain was scenic, making one appreciate the beauty of one of Kenya’s most important landmarks.

We drove few kilometres from Timau shopping centre, and turned left on a rough road to reach Teleswani Farm, where French beans and Garden peas are thriving for export.

We met Janet Mugambi, the owner of the farm. She had joined workers in harvesting the crops.

And as she harvested, James Gichuru, who works for Veg Pro Kenya Ltd, the buyers of Janet’s produce, documented her personal details, the quantity and quality of the harvest, among others, in a smart phone application.

Janet is among farmers using the app that is changing how the horticulture exports are produced, making the farmer accountable to the consumer and reducing cases of rejected produce.

The software tracks farmers’ crops right from planting to the time they are sold to the consumer, enabling the end user to know how the food he is consuming was produced.

“The system captures the age of the farmer, her ID number, trace code number, block number and the type of crops. The information is sent to a centralised computerised data system in Nairobi,” said Gichuru, noting they work with 60 farmers in Timau, Meru County.

Gichuru visits each farmer weekly and records activities like planting, which seeds were planted, how much, and if the seeds were treated before planting.

He then follows up on issues like fertiliser and chemical application, weeding and harvesting.

The information is transmitted to Veg Pro, the exporting company, regulatory bodies such as Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services and Horticultural Crops Directorate.

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