Technology will play a great role in filling a gap caused by the few numbers of extension officers in Nyeri County. This was said by James Muturi, the CEC for Agriculture, and Livestock & Fisheries during a meeting with the Digital Green team led by Henry Kinyua, the Head of Digital Green in East Africa and a former Nyeri County agriculture CEC. Digital Green produces videos for use in offering extension services to farmers in their local language.
Speaking at his office in Nyeri, the CEC said they have a lot of farmers to deliver services to but a very lean team of extension service providers. “We have partnered with Digital Green to produce videos in a project we are implementing called Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Project (KCSAP). The project has a component called Disruptive Agriculture Technology (DAT) and Digital Green has a disruptive technology which they have implemented in other countries and Nyeri is happy to be part of this process,” said Muturi.
The CEC said they have started by producing five videos touching on the dairy value chain saying more are on the way which will include other value chains like coffee and beans. “What this does is that it gives us the capacity to cover a lot of ground because when you have a video that has been developed locally where our farmers are able to identify with the characters in that video, it becomes easy for us to reach out to many people. It means even when you are not a very technical officer, you are empowered to deliver the message to the beneficiaries,” he added.
On his part, Henry Kinyua said that in Kenya and Africa in general the rate of extension agents is very low as one is supposed to serve 2,000 farmers. “This becomes very difficult to have a one-on-one visit but a video is more customizable and interesting to watch and with that, you deliver the message,” he added.
Digital Green is also working with Kiambu, Nandi, Kirinyaga, Nyandarua and Makueni Counties to produce extension videos.
“The videos we make must be produced in the local area and use the local language. The actors in the video are real local farmers and this helps other farmers to relate with the video. It has been interesting to roll out this in Kenya and specifically in Nyeri and we are looking forward to strengthening it in other areas. We are looking forward to disseminating these videos using various channels and our success is when the farmers watching them are able to apply the practices featured in them. This is by either behaviour change positively and being able to increase the quality of what they produce either milk, coffee, beans, potatoes or whatever else the county produces,” opined Kinyua.