The iGrowers InfoHub Project
Early in 2019, the InfoHub project was awarded a small grant by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to design, build and launch the very first iGrowers InfoHub in Nakuru County.
The InfoHub Project was led by Mrs. Rose Muchichu who had worked in the agricultural industry for close to seven years. During this time, she spent a lot of time in the field working with small-scale farmers, many of whom are women, and observed their difficulties in accessing relevant, and timely information for the resolution of crop production and marketing challenges. Whilst studying for her Masters in Agribusiness at the University of Queensland in Australia, she was inspired to think further on this issue. On her return to Kenya, she began to think of a way to build small-scale farmers’ capacity to access the information they need in order to produce better crops and get their crops to market.
The concept is an onsite, interactive information booth for farmers, comprising of a user-friendly touch screen, pre-loaded with easily accessible multi-media information relevant to their region, their crops, and access to markets.
The project was successful in gaining funding from AusAID and Duff Engineering for the placement of one pilot booth in Subukia, Nakuru County.
On September 2019, the very first iGrowers InfoHub was launched in Subukia, Nakuru and was received very well by the farmers, the community and the County Government of Nakuru.
Today, iGrowers Information Hub is transitioning into a social business enterprise aimed at helping small-scale farmers access FREE farming information. iGrowers is now promoting the uptake of the InfoHub amongst agribusinesses, county governments, NGOs and development agencies keen to enable small-scale farmers access information anytime, when they need it without restrictions.
Today's dynamic market changes require farmers to have knowledge-based production approaches in order to keep up with technological and product innovations being released daily. Fully functioning extension services would be required to provide small-scale farmers with these information on-time. Yet, in Kenya, farmer extension ratio is overstretched and where digital online content exists; access is inhibited by low literacy levels, awareness, and infrastructure challenges.
iGrowers seeks to fill this gap using its innovative community-based InfoHubs that come pre-loaded with agriculture content and requiring no internet. With the Hub, organizations are able to effectively provide farmers with free information on pests and disease management and solutions. In exchange, organizations gain through farmer research; content promotion; and products & services distribution.