KENYA – The Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) has launched a new platform that enhances communication, engagement, and account management for its over 600,000 smallholder tea farmers.

The platform includes a mobile application, Short Messaging Service (SMS), and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD).

The agency said 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.

In addition, it guarantees farmers the flexibility and ability to access the status of their accounts on either a smartphone or a feature phone.

“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,” said Julius Onguso the KTDA Management Services Managing Director.

“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.”

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.

The KTDA Farmers App will provide an interactive interface that provides information about various services at go and will be available to registered farmers.

As for the SMS platform, the multi-level system is 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 make queries on, among others, green leaf deliveries, payment status, and fertilizer disbursement.

The 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 toward sustained efficiency.

Through the 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.

For all the latest food industry news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel.