Google grants Ksh 100 million to digitize farming in Kenya

Charles Murito (left), Country Manager for Google in Kenya and Najib Balala Kenya's Tourism Cabinet Secretary during the Google for Kenya Event in Nairobi.

Agriculture constitutes 30% of the Gross Domestic Product in Kenya and can even do better if technological advancements are leveraged on it an area that Google has announced an award of Ksh 100 million to the Kenyan farmers to better their practice.

“In Kenya, the agriculture sector employs over 40% of the total population, contributing to 30% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). We want to see the power of technology elevate small scale farming. We hope that through this initiative, we will see a positive impact in food security, job creation and GDP growth in Kenya,” said Murito.

The grant is aimed at ensuring that Kenyan smallholder farmers get into digital agriculture to help increase their yields and productivity. Google also announced it will be partnering with One Acre Fund, a non-profit organization headquartered in Kakamega, to provide training as well as products and services to smallholder farmers towards digitizing their agribusiness operations and tasks.

One Acre Fund, an NGO that is based in Kenya and that trains locals on how to do better farming, also had representation at the event and promised to partner with Google in ensuring digitation of farming practices in Kenya. Farmers in low-income and rural parts of the country will benefit from the grant and trainings effective next one year.

During the same event, it launched  the Street View and Motorbike Mode on Google Maps. Whereas the former is purely for ease of navigation across destinations, the latter is tailor-made for motorists across Kenya, locally called boda boda.

Kenyan motorbike users will now be able to get directions and turn-by-turn navigation, to suggest routes that are more efficient shorter.  It also provides an optimal travel experience.

Speaking during the launch event held in Kenya, that was the first in Africa, the company outlined its long-term strategy and commitment to contribute to the country’s economic and social growth.

Dubbed Google for Kenya, the event drew a wide audience from across Africa including local dignitaries like the cabinet secretary for tourism in Kenya, Najib Balala who officially opened the event.

Street View is available on Google Maps and is accessible to everyone around the world around. It has 9,500 km of beautiful imagery of major cities in Kenya including Nairobi, Mombasa, Eldoret, Nakuru, Nyeri, and Malindi and gives both locals and tourists a more immersive experience while navigating and exploring destinations.

Najib Balala, the Cabinet Secretary for Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife lauded the street view app.

“Google Street View will bring Kenya to the world by enabling a global audience to virtually explore our cities, other urban centres and other places of interest and also bring the world to Kenya by whetting a user’s appetite to physically visit a place of interest that they have experienced virtually. By virtually or physically visiting Kenya’s leading tourist attractions, we will inspire people around the world to gain a deeper appreciation for Kenya, its people, the natural landscape, and the wildlife that inhabits it so that they they can visit and also support the preservation of this natural heritage.” Najib Balala.

The Country Manager for Google Kenya Charles Murito who also attended the function promised a grant of Ksh 100 million to Kenyan farmers for digitization and ultimate growth of the economy.

“At One Acre Fund, we’re grateful for the opportunity to partner with Google in the service of smallholder farmers in Kenya. With greater access to technology and training, farmers can make their land more productive. We’re excited to scale our digital innovations in rural areas and expand our life-improving services for thousands of hard-working farmers,” said Matthew Forti, Managing Director, One Acre Fund.



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