In support of the research project "Developing a Framework for Regional Yield Data Collection" led by GEOG Assistant Professor Catherine Nakalembe, an intensive training workshop took place from Oct. 23 to 27 in Semara, Machakos, Kenya.
The workshop was a joint effort between NASA Harvest, NASA's Food Security and Agriculture Program led by GEOG researcher, and the Kenya Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries (MoALF) with the goal of creating a robust data collection plan for yield data gathering by extension agents.
The workshop gathered about 200 Agricultural Extension Agents from the MoALF. Key participants included project leaders Jane Kioko and John Juma Katana from the Kenya MoALF; Kennedy Ogora from the MoALF Crop Insurance Programme; Peter Okello and Esther Maina from the Kenya Space Agency; Kenneth Mwangi from the IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Center; and Diana Botchway Frimpong and Isha Asalla from NASA Harvest.
Training activities included orienting agents on the use of digital tools like OpenDataKit (ODK) for seamless data collection, properly using tools like Google Earth to navigate to designated sampling areas, moisture meter calibrations, measurement of grain moisture content, calculating individual pacing factors, and setting up 5x5 plots for crop cut sampling. The success of this project hinges on the efficiency of these agents, who provide reliable data leveraging their local insights and crop-cutting expertise.
On ending, the team from NASA Harvest, Diana Botchway Frimpong and Ms. Isha Asalla, along with Kennedy Anahinga, Director of the Crop Insurance Program from MoALF, visited maize fields in Nakuru County to interact with farmers and extension agents in order to gain firsthand crop cutting experience and ensure the functionality of data collection tools.
This project is funded by the Enabling Crop Analytics at Scale Initiative and aims to create a regional sampling framework for yield data collection in Kenya. Production estimates will in turn support the Regional Food Balance Sheet in East and Southern Africa, which is being jointly led by AGRA and COMESA (The Common Market for East and Southern Africa).
Images: Courtesy Diana B. Frimpong and Isha Asalla