27 December 2009

Agricultural advice by SMS

Many farmers save seed from one harvest for the next season's planting. But, for those who can afford it, commercially-sold seed, such as hybrid varieties, can be more productive. However, with so many types of seed on the market, which should farmers choose?

In the past, local extension officers were able to recommend suitable varieties for different locations. Those kinds of advisors are thin on the ground. So now, the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service, known as Kephis, is trying a new way to give maize farmers the information they need.

Farmers who want to plant maize can send an SMS text message to a database created by Kephis, and get an automatic response about the best varieties for their area.

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