Research completed by team members before the formation of PxD demonstrated that sending SMS messages with agricultural advice to smallholder sugar cane farmers increased yields by 11.5%. It also demonstrated that creating a platform through which farmers could report fertilizer delivery delays by the contract farming company reduced the incidence by 21.6%.
Yield increase for sugar cane
Increase in use of new input
PxD established Kenya as a “sandbox” for further developing ideas on how best to offer mobile phone-based agricultural extension services. In 2016, we piloted an SMS-based advisory service among 1,900 smallholder maize farmers that provided input recommendations conditional on local soil tests. In early 2017, we rolled out a more intensive system that offered information not only via SMS but also through phone calls and an e-extension system among 5,900 farmers.
This research revealed that farmers who received recommendations and were advised to use agricultural lime to combat local soil acidity were 10-24% more likely to experiment with the input. Farmers who received the service and were advised that they did not need lime were 25% less likely to purchase it.
With this proof-of concept, we continue to work with farmers across Kenya to experiment with new methods of communicating customized agricultural information effectively.
PxD initiatives in Kenya*
* This page is in the process of being updated. Additional initiatives being implemented in Kenya will be added soon.