The Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) has unveiled a mobile application, Short Messaging Service (SMS), and an Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) platform to enhance communication, engagement, and account management for its over 600,000 smallholder tea farmers.
The roll-out of the app, SMS, and USSD platforms is part of the organization’s reforms agenda aimed at providing transparency and accountability by giving farmers full visibility of the status of their accounts around the clock. The multi-approach roll-out guarantees farmers the flexibility and ability to access the status of their accounts on either a smartphone or a feature phone.
Through this initiative, tea farmers will now be able to receive daily, weekly, and monthly notifications on plucked tea weights; notifications on payments; conduct queries on fertilizer disbursements; receive regular news updates from the organization; and receive extension services.
The KTDA Farmers App will provide an interactive interface that provides information about various services at a go and will be available to registered farmers. Currently, the app is available on the Google Play Store for download having been first piloted across eight factories. An iOS version of the app is currently in development.
On the other hand, the SMS platform is a multi-leveled system engineered to enable communications from the factories to their farmers and stakeholders regarding weights (daily, weekly & Monthly SMSs) through a subscription service. The subscription service is accessible by sending a keyword to the KTDA short code “20213.”
Farmers can also use the USSD code, *302#, to conduct queries on, among others, green leaf deliveries, payment status, and fertilizer disbursement.
Commenting on the development, KTDA Management Services Managing Director, Julius Onguso, said:
“We are pleased to be rolling out our Mobile App, SMS, and USSD platforms in what is a deliberate endeavor to transform how we interact and engage with farmers. By embracing and leveraging technology to enhance our communication and engagement with our farmers, we believe that this will enhance the transparency and credibility of all our undertakings for the farmers.
“This move is in line with the organization’s reforms trajectory which aims at ensuring farmers get the best value for their hard work – which extends to excellent and efficient service delivery, which is what we aim to deliver using these platforms. This heralds the digital transformation of KTDA’s service offering to its farmers, which, we believe, will go a long way towards sustained efficiency.”