Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Interactive voice service systems for farmers should be rolled out over the whole continent

Interview with Stephen Muchiri, Chief Executive Officer, Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF).

The Eastern African Farmers Federation was formed in 2001 and its chapter registered in member counties. EAFF is a non-political, non-profit and a democratic apex organization of all Framers of Eastern Africa. Its role is to voice legitimate concerns and interests of farmers of the region with the aim of enhancing regional cohesiveness and social-economic status of the farmers.

A regional farmers congress is organised by EAFF constitution biannually. The Congress gathers about 150 people drawn from: national member platforms in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and DR Congo; governments and regional economic communities (RECs); farmers networks from ACP; development partners; NGOs and larger civil Society; EAFF networks and alliances.

Stephen Muchiri comments NAFIS: the National Farmers Information Service which was launched as a pilot project begin of May 2008 and links this to the Accra workshop of AFAAS/FARA & Neuchatel Initiative. The National Farmers Information Service (NAFIS)enables farmers and other interested parties to receive timely agriculture information through their mobile phones in national language (Kiswahili to start with).

Stephen Muchiri explains what NAFIS is about. He often sees problems of sustainability in similar projects but farmers should not be left hungry for information.

The NAFIS project ties very well under the CAADP process [Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme] especially pillar IV [dissemination of research information and technologies]. NAFIS should be outscaled at the benefit of farmers. EAFF [Eastern Africa Farmers Federation ] will be monitoring how the NAFIS programme is implemented and rolled out. He answers following questions:
  1. What are the conditions for a continental roll out?
  2. Does an interactive voice service system reach better illiterate farmers?
  3. Are you hopefull that this NAFIS experience can be out scaled to many African countries?
  4. Which expertise is needed for such a roll out?
Related FARA blogposts:
The future of Agricultural Advisory Services (AAS)
African languages technology offers new opportunities
Kenya launches interactive voice service system an...