Early Warning Systems (EWS)

Farmers get SMS tool to check on weather

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BIGGER, BETTER CROPS: Governor Jackson Mandago and Agriculture CS Willy Bett in Eldoret on Friday.

BIGGER, BETTER CROPS: Governor Jackson Mandago and Agriculture CS Willy Bett in Eldoret on Friday.

The UK government has launched a project in the Rift Valley and Western in which farmers will get updates on weather through the SMS.

The platform known as Western Wiser Project is expected to benefit more than 300,000 farmers.

It is being piloted in Trans Nzoia, Siaya, Kisumu and Kakamega counties.

Experts from Britain are helping to start the project.

Calistas Wachana, the meteorology officer in Trans Nzoia, said the updates will help farmers plan their agricultural activities.

Farmers will also get other relevant information, he said.

“Under the project, farmers will be asked the kind of information they need, especially on weather. They will then receive the updates through the SMS on a weekly basis,” Wachana said.

He spoke on Friday during a workshop for farmers in Kitale.

Wachana said farmers in sub-Saharan Africa make heavy losses due to the effects of weather.

The Agriculture ministry is using Uasin Gishu county as a model in a number of pilot projects to improve national food security and help farmers diversify crops.

Agriculture CS Willy Bett and Governor Jackson Mandago have agreed that the ministry will partner with the county on development of horticulture farming and production of fresh produce for export.

Bett said they will roll out avocado farming in the region.

He said there is an extensive market for the fruits in Europe and Asia.

Mandago hosted the CS at his office in Eldoret on Friday.

He said more than 100 youth groups have been empowered to start tree nurseries.

“We want our farmers to diversify and also our youth to engage in modern farming,” Mandago said.


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