Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Kenya launches interactive voice service system and agriculture information service

The Government of Kenya has launched farmers information service, where the community's farming community will be able to receive and exchange timely news and information on agriculture, weather patterns and other related issues through their mobile phones.

Nafis has been developed by the National Agriculture and Livestock Programme of the Ministries of Agriculture and of Livestock Development. It is intended to provide Agricultural extension information and enhance existing direct extension services. It is not expected to substitute but rather to supplement these direct extension services.

The pilot project of the service was launched Monday 05/05 in Kiambu, near Nairobi by the country's assistant minister for agriculture Japeth Mbiuki at a ceremony attended by Swedish Ambassador Anna Brandt.

The launch of National Farmers Information Service (NAFIS) will enable farmers and other interested parties to receive timely agriculture information through their mobile phones. To ensure the sustainability of the service, the envoy called on the government to set aside some funds for it and also to develop modalities for attracting the participation of the private sector through cost sharing.

NAFIS is the first voice-site in Kenya and the only farmer's service of its kind in Africa. The voice-site is hosted by Popote Wireless. Although many Private Automatic Branch Exchanges (PABXs) offer interactive voice services, the NAFIS one is run by a Text-to-Speech engine that picks typed text from a computer and speaks it loudly in either Kiswahili or English.

The system is already being used to help farmers in Kiambu obtain critical information about agriculture by just dialling the number for the National Agriculture Information Service (NAFIS).

AllAfrica 13/05 Kenya: Voice Service System for Farmers Launched
Africa Online 05/05 Kenya launches agriculture information service
AllAfrica 05/05 Information System for Farmers to Fill Void of Extension Services
AllAfrica 28/04 Kenya: Agricultural Extension Work Both Important And Under-Valued

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