Wireless Wednesday: Using Technology To Overcome Post Harvest Challenges

By Jessica Colaço
  Published 23 Apr 2012
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After a successful first, USAID sponsored Wireless Wednesday on 29th February 2012 hosted by m: Lab that focused on Agriculture, the second one comes up next Wednesday. The event themed "Using Technology to overcome Post Harvest challenges", will be at m: Lab East Africa, Bishop Magua Center premises on 25th April 2012, from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm. This year's first Wireless Wednesday meetup on mobiles for agriculture was on "Using Technology to enhance productivity in agricultural value chains". A recap summary of the discussion pointscan be found here. The scheduled second meetup aims to continue targeting agricultural value chains with an increased focus on the horticultural sector. It particularly focuses on the post harvest challenges faced by farmers in the horticultural sub sector of the larger agricultural sector. The horticultural sub sector is among the fastest growing industry within the agricultural sector, recording an average growth of 15% to 20% per annum according to Kenya Horticulture Council (K.H.C). The sub sector contributes to the Kenyan socio-economic development through generation of income, creation of employment opportunities and foreign exchange earnings, as well as providing raw materials to the Agro processing industry. Small scale farmers in the sector however continue to face numerous post harvesting challenges. The challenges may include but are not limited to: determining correct times and stages for harvesting, use of Agro-chemicals, getting to processors without being adversely affected by activities of middlemen and adhering to market quality requirements just to mention a few. It is in this spirit of trying to solve these challenges that USAID and m: Lab East Africa encourage stake holders in the sector through forums like Wireless Wednesday to come together with the Tech community and talk out possible technological solutions to these challenges. The event will bring together farmers and food processors from the South Eastern part of Kenya, software developers and members of the tech community. At the meetup startup companies incubated at m: Lab East Africa, mobile phone manufacturers, mobile network operators are also expected to contribute to the discussion. The meetup aims at getting the attendees to engage each other in a focus group discussion setup exploring how technology can be effectively used to help farmers cope with the challenges faced after crop harvesting. The discussions will particularly explore the role of mobile phones and mobile applications technology in creating solutions to highlighted post harvest challenges. The meetup is expected to deepen the mobile entrepreneurs' understanding of the agricultural sector and the opportunities it creates. It is an event which contestants in the Pivot East Competition such as GreenHouse Pro, FishMate, mPoultry and FarmPal might find useful for insights to enhance their pitches and business plans for the Pitching Conference in June 5th and 6th 2012. Interested individuals may register to attend here through event briteHERE.... - there are limited slots available. Those interested and are unable to attend may follow and contribute to the discussion on Twitter using the hashtag#WirelessWednesday.
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