Use of ICT tools to improve dissemination of rice information in Kenya: a case of the Kenya Rice Knowledge Bank (KRKB)
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Rice in Kenya has become the third most important cereal in the country. Its production however is far below consumption requirements: it is currently estimated that the country produces about 70,000mt while consumption stands at 300,000mt. This low production is projected to improve significantly with improved rice information dissemination on rice farming such as the right seeds and technologies, good crop management, post-harvest and storage. Agricultural research is therefore highly beneficial not only for production of the knowledge and technologies but also when it reaches farmers and stakeholders promptly. However, this has remained a major challenge to date. Although access to agricultural research information by stakeholders within the value chain is gaining pace, the ultimate success to making research knowledge reach the farmer requires innovative systems. The Kenya Rice Knowledge Bank (KRKB) portal is a central hub of online information. It contains data and knowledge about rice farming and management in Kenya. It is built on artificial intelligence technology, open access standards and has capabilities to maintain knowledge and facilitate communication, collaboration, innovation and reuse of knowledge along the rice value chain. The experiences from Kenya Rice Knowledge Bank show that the use of ICT tools for dissemination of rice information is not only instrumental in harnessing the power of scientific knowledge and technology transfer to rice farmers and stakeholders in Kenya but it is also a tool for knowledge democratization amongst the common people. ICT tools such as the KRKB empowers farmers and increases their capacity to make effective and informed decisions.