AgricultureFarming is the most important economic sector in Kenya, although less than 8 percent of the land is used for crop and feed production, and less than 20 percent is suitable for cultivation.
The economy of the Lake Victoria region is largely based on fishing and agriculture. The Kenyan government, in partnership with the private sector, promotes increased market access for farmers through a traditional model of extension and agricultural trade fairs designed to connect farmers, manufacturers and entrepreneurs and to allow for tangible goods and information exchange. Manufacturers are those individuals who produce agricultural products and supplies. Entrepreneurs are individuals who are local businesspersons or rural artisans. Costs associated with these physical-based fairs, such as travel time, transportation, damage to products in transit, storage facilities, and exhibition space and upkeep, can be prohibitively high for a majority of poor farmers and entrepreneurs in rural areas. These costs deny relevant populations there the opportunity to participate in these fairs. The result is that farmers and fisher folk in rural areas are less informed about and have limited access to market opportunities. This has a negative impact upon their quality of life.
The larger agricultural market in Kenya is in a growth phase. This sector is facing ongoing challenges to find new trading partners and increase efficiencies throughout the supply chain in Kenya. New trade opportunities in Africa and beyond Africa will allow these larger manufacturers and processors to increase their business.
The AgriTradeKenya (ATK) Project Strategy
Objectives: ATK is an innovative project of the African Centre for Women, Information and Communications Technology (ACWICT) that is utilizing technology as a tool to create agricultural market efficiencies in Eastern Africa. The ATK project aims to network fishing, livestock and crop producing rural communities in the Lake Victoria Basin Region of Kenya with entrepreneurs, processors and agricultural service providers through an online web portal. The portal will provide a showcase of goods, services and best practices and provide an online trade component. This model utilizes the most proven theories of market economy, efficiencies through technology and communication to create a unique plan of action for facilitating real change in the community. The Project will be piloted in Mbita, Muhoroni and Migori areas in the region.
In addition to the online portal, three Community Multimedia Centres (CMCs) will be developed. These CMCs will serve as access points for the agricultural portal and will also be available to the general public, providing additional services, training, and access to information and communication technologies (ICTs). The CMCs will contribute to and encourage regional technology literacy, education and development.
It is expected that the ATK project will transform the current physical-based approach to markets, extension and information exchange into real-time, virtual access, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.