Following the launch of our farmer panel, a panel of over 18,000 farmers in Kenya available to take GeoPoll surveys through their mobile devices, GeoPoll is releasing its first report on farming in Kenya from this respondent panel. In September 2018, GeoPoll conducted an in-depth survey with over 900 farmers in Kenya, asking questions about what crops or livestock they farm, if they sell their goods or engage in subsistence farming, key challenges they face, and their perceptions of the latest trends in farming.

Findings range from information on land size and ownership of land, to water availability, food security, and usage of various mobile-based services such as mobile money and digital farming groups. Below are some highlights from the data, and you can download the full, 20-page report on farming in Kenya here.

Climate Change is a Key Challenge for Farmers

Unpredictable weather, drought and climactic changes were cited as major issues farmers in Kenya face that affect their yield and make it challenging for them to farm. Climactic changes were found to be the biggest factor affecting yield for farmers, and 27% said it was one of the key challenges they face. In addition, only 36% of farmers said that water was frequently available for farming. Respondents in counties that have gone through dry spells recently, such as Narok County and two other counties in the Rift Valley, reported lower levels of water availability than those in counties on the border with Uganda.

Insights on Mobile Phones and Farming

While GeoPoll’s panel is skewed in terms of mobile usage, as all respondents have a mobile phone and surveys are taken via SMS or other mobile-based methods, we nevertheless can glean interesting findings on how farmers are using mobile phones. GeoPoll found that, of this mobile-owning population, a high percentage own a smartphone, with 53% owning some sort of smartphone, and Android devices being by far the most popular operating system. There were some differences by gender, with females being more likely to own a basic phone with SMS and voice only. We also unsurprisingly observed that younger farmers were more likely to own smartphones than farmers in older age groups.

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GeoPoll also examined usage of mobile money and other mobile services, including mobile lending and mobile banking, WhatsApp groups, and farming apps, finding that mobile banking and lending are the most popular services used by farmers in Kenya, likely driven by the prevalence of mPesa throughout the country. However, even among this mobile-owning segment of the farming population, most farmers get their information from word of mouth, with other farmers and agricultural officers combined being the biggest source of information, over social media and mobile apps.

Download the Data on Farming in Kenya

GeoPoll’s full report on Kenya’s agricultural sector and the effect of mobile technology in modern Kenya includes additional insights on upcoming trends in farming, including open-ended responses directly from farmers on what they see as the biggest trends, farm inputs, farm size, popular crop types by age, and much more. Download the full report here, and contact us if you are interested in conducting your own research with GeoPoll’s farmer panel in Kenya or any other country we operate in.