September 04, 2020: Kenya’s ministry of agriculture has launched Visualizing Insights on Fertilizer for African Agriculture (VIFAA) Kenya dashboard, an online portal to guide farmers on the best crop and region-specific inputs to buy in a drive to improve food productivity.

The dashboard, activated recently, publishes information on fertiliser retail prices, recommended fertiliser usage per hectare as well as real-time information on when to apply specific products on targeted plantations to ensure higher yields.

“Timely and accurate data are critical to support closing the gap between farmer demand and fertilizer supply during the planting season. Vifaa visualises key information on fertilizer price, use, product availability and policy at the national and county level,” said the ministry.

While fertilizer consumption in Sub-Saharan Africa has historically been low, fertilizer supply in the last decade has seen impressive growth. National and international organisations have taken notice, and increasingly look to boost agricultural output through improvements to farmer fertilizer consumption. Without reliable data, however, it is difficult for actors to make decisions based on real time needs.

Tea, horticulture, flower and maize farmers are major fertiliser users which leads to multibillion-shilling imports of the product annually.

To begin addressing these challenges, International Fertilizer Development Center’s (IFDC), initiative, the Kenya ministry of agriculture, livestock and fisheries, and Development Gateway have worked closely to co-design a user-friendly dashboard that meets the analytical needs of diverse stakeholders.

Other players have also mooted direct farmer communication channels to boost fertiliser intake based on rainfall availability, soil types and crops grown.

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