Introduced earlier this year and using the same technology as that of the M-Shamba platform that seeks to provide farmers with information on farming through their mobile devices, a new service is planned to roll out starting January, next year.
The new service is an online platform dubbed M-Samaki, and was launched earlier this year to provide farmers in the aquaculture sector with information and communication services through a subscription through their mobile device.
Founded by Judith Henze to help pond-based fish farmers improve productivity and market access, M-Samaki offers its services through its website, a mobile app download, SMS service as well as the USSD service.
The online service provides farmers with information advise on various issues including but not limited to fish illness, pond health and water quality as well as the post harvest processes to avoid spoilage.
Now, through a partnership with the government, the platform is set to be made available as a pilot project to farmers in the western and central regions of the country starting January and will begin in Kakamega, Kisumu, Vihiga, Meru, Nyeri and Nyandarua.
The government is introducing the service to help cut the middle man costs in the fish business by providing farmers with contact details of local support officers and linking buyers and farmers to fish collection points and cooling facilities close to them.
“The biggest problems our farmers face are lack of knowledge, inadequate capital and limited market. The platform will link fish producers with local players such as traders, factories and service industry,” said Henze.
Once rolled out, farmers wanting to use the online platform will be required to first register through the M-Samaki website by providing details as provided for on the site, and after which one can subscribe to receive information through the code 22384.
Farmers who do not have access to a smartphone do not have to worry as there is a provision through an SMS-based system where customers can send a text message starting with the name ‘samaki’, followed by the user’s name and county and the enquiry to the same number 22384.
Each SMS will cost the user KSh 10, after the pilot project is completed and the service is rolled out to other areas.