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Sokopepe Newsletter: Bridging technology and agriculture

We are pleased to present issue 1 of Sokopepe Newsletter. The issue is a joint effort between Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) and Sokopepe Ltd.

It is now more than two years since the formation of Sokopepe as a social enterprise to support the agriculture sector in Kenya by offering market information and farm records management services. During this time we have inculcated a culture of record keeping to more than 14,000 farmers in Meru County.

Launched in April 2014, Sokopepe is currently working with farmers in Meru County, Kenya by addressing lack of accurate production, marketing and operational data in agriculture and limited access to finance and other services to farmers as well as low food production.

Funding for the innovation is by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through Kenya Feed the Future Innovation Engine.

Our Farm Records Management Information System (FARMIS) service provides the evidence base that farmers need to make an informed decision. Last year we covered 5 sub counties in Meru but we are now covering the entire Meru County.

The change of farmer attitude and in embracing record keeping is what motivates us. We are glad that farmers are realizing the importance of record keeping in agribusiness.

During the formative stage, we realised that record keeping can help transform the agriculture sector in Kenya. This was an area which had previously been neglected by farmers and stakeholders within the agriculture sector. Luckily we have been publishing information on agriculture and environment for over two decades hence moving to knowledge management was not difficult.

Our success is attributed to our network of Production Information Agents (PIAs) who are the people who are in touch with farmers every day and they support them with advisory services. The PIAs are instrumental in providing farm record keeping data, demand-driven extension services, and boosting farmer’s access to information.

Winning the Microsoft ICT Innovation Awards under Agriculture category during this year’s connected summit reinforced our thinking that farm records are key in agribusiness.

Over the years, we have learned to appreciate that records can make a difference in farmer’s lives and they are able to increase productivity and profitability.

We appreciate the support that farmers are giving us. Listening to farmers stories while in the field is always a revelation that there is a lot to learn from their micro innovations that they undertake on their farms.

It is always a humbling experience when we hear testimonies from farmers whom we have linked to markets, micro finance institutions and other value chain actors.

It is our hope that readers will find the 1st issue of Sokopepe Newsletter as informative and that it would give them a deeper understanding of what we are doing. You can download a copy of the newsletter here.

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By Bob Aston | Tuesday, December 6th, 2016 | 3 Comments | Tags : Agriculture Farmis Soko+ Markets

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