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The national farmers information service (NAFIS) - Extension services through Mobile telephony and internet
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The national farmers information service (NAFIS) - Extension services through Mobile telephony and internet


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Presentation by Halima Nenkari (NALEP) at the IAALD 2010 World Congress - 26-29 April 2010, Montpellier, France

Presentation by Halima Nenkari (NALEP) at the IAALD 2010 World Congress - 26-29 April 2010, Montpellier, France

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  • 1. THE NATIONAL FARMERS INFORMATION SERVICE (NAFIS) Extension services through Mobile telephony and internet Halima Nenkari National Agriculture & Livestock Extension Programme (NALEP) Ministry of Livestock Development, Nairobi KENYA AWARD FELLOW (2008-2010)
  • 2. Rationale
    • Importance of Agriculture in national economy
    • Mostly done by small scale farmers who form the bulk of the farmers.
    • Farmers output can be improved by improved technical support as offered by extension officers.
    • Agricultural extension officers are currently over-stretched and reach less than 50% of the farmers.
    • Technology can be used to expand the reach of extension services to the 4.5 million farmers.
    • Extension services are local by nature; that is the information offered is area specific.
  • 3. Background
    • Public extension service - most reliable
    • Smallholder farmers, pastoralists and fisher-folk - 4.5 million.
    • Current extension outreach - 2.1 million
    • No not reached, 2.4 million
    • There is positive response on the use of mobile phones by the illiterate, young & old
  • 4. Mobile subscriber growth in Kenya
  • 5. Number of wireless subscribers including mobile data/internet subscribers
  • 6. Overall Objective
    • Enhance dissemination and access to Agricultural Extension Information by the 4.5 Million Kenyan farmers on the following:
      • Crops
      • Livestock
      • Market prices – inputs, services, produce, products
      • General Information
  • 7.
    • Design and Implement a Voice Based information Service with the following features:
      • Accessible through all the telephony networks in Kenya
      • Secure and easily updated through the Internet
      • Communicates through understandable Kiswahili and English dialects
      • Scalable
      • Affordable by farmers
    Specific Objectives
  • 8. Partners
    • NALEP, Client:
    • Project direction and Content.
    • Teknobyte (Kenya), Lead-consultant:
    • Project management, development of TTS
    • Speechnet, Consultant:
    • Web/Voice design and system integration
    • Popote Wireless:
    • System hosting and trials
    • University of Nairobi and AIRC:
    • Translation resources, Studio recording, research materials etc.
  • 9. Pilot study – The banana service
    • Pilot study undertaken jointly between
      • University of Nairobi,
      • NALEP,
      • Uppsala University, Sweden and
      • Outside Echo (UK),
    • Usability tests carried out in Kirinyaga district with the following lessons learnt:
      • Uppsala University, Sweden
      • Service was easy to use.
      • Natural male voices preferred with Kenyan accents
      • English preferred over Kiswahili
      • Information on other products highly desirable especially Daily cattle and market prices
  • 10.
    • Integration to the National Telecommunication Network
    • Flexible Voice database navigation
    • Internet Update-end
    • Voices In Local Kiswahili and English Dialects
    • Agricultural content
    System Features
  • 11. NAFIS Description
    • It is a Government extension service
    • currently in English & Kiswahili languages
    • Will accommodate other languages.
    • Electronically generated voice information service
    • It is easy to use and requires minimal training.
    • There are no extra charges beyond the normal telephone and internet charges.
  • 12. NAFIS Description 2
    • It is a highly innovative system
    • It can be updated with site-specific information by frontline extension officers.
    • Quality assurance is guaranteed through in-built alerts.
    • Feedback mechanisms are in place for response through emails.
  • 13. System Development Stages
    • Development of Agricultural extension information (CONTENT) for each enterprise.
    • Development of Web-Update end.
    • Development of Text-To-Speech (TTS) systems for data to voice conversion, both on Kiswahili and Kenyan English®.
    • Development of Voice-site
    • Integration of the three systems.
  • 14. NAFIS ARCHITECTURE WEB DATABASE TTS + Engine IVR System Telephone Card LAN Farmers INTERNET CONTENT Telcos Telcos Farmers Farmers POPOTE KDN NALEP Web server Voice server HOST
  • 15. ACCESS ACCESS UPDATING Machakos NAFIS zain SAFARICOM TELKOM OTHERS FARMERS Banana Coffee Livestock Rice M/Prices INTERNET VSAT/ ADSL KENSTREAM DIAL-UP Field Officers Machakos Eldoret Taita-Taveta Kisii Nyeri Location 1 Location 2 Location 3 Location 4 Location 5 TEKNOBYTE NALEP HQ CONTROL CONNECTION TO TELCOS E1 E1
  • 16. The Internet Updating System
    • The Field officers will be provided with an internet based menu systems through which they can update the service.
    • The system will have a three-level password system, so that those with more access rights can alter information entered by the one with lower rights.
    • Headquarters will be alerted on all information so updated for vetting purposes.
  • 17. Access Password System System administrator Level District Level Field Officer Level Increased Access Rights ACCESS LEVELS OF THE UPDATING SYSTEM Headquarters Level Provincial Level
    • Two sets of voices have been provided for the service:
        • Kiswahili
        • Kenyan English®
    • These voices are in the familiar Kenyan local dialects.
    • The updating officer will enter information in both languages.
  • 19.
    • Call: +254 20 47NAFIS which is same as
    • +254 20-4762347
    • Website:
    • Coming soon are access numbers for all mobile companies:
      • safaricom,
      • Zain,
      • Orange,
      • u and others
  • 20. Other features
    • In built alerts
    • RSS feeds
    • E-mail subscription