American multinational technology company, Google has outlined its long-term strategy to contribute to Kenya’s social and economic growth.
The world-renowned tech firm this week announced a partnership with One Acre Fund, a nonprofit organization that supplies smallholder farmers in East Africa with asset-based financing.
The announcement was made during an event titled Google for Kenya (Google4Kenya) with an aim to train 100,000 Kenyan smallholder farmers in digital skills through a Ksh100 million (about $1 million) grant.
Google stated that the training skills program will help smallholder farmers digitize their agribusiness operations and tasks.
The digital training will provide training as well as products and services to smallholder farmers aimed at digitising their agribusiness operations; and farmers in low-income and rural parts of the country will benefit from the grant and training taking effect over the next one year.
“We want to see the power of technology elevate small-scale farming,” said Google Kenya Country Manager Charles Murito.
Kenya is heavily reliant on agriculture, which provides employment for a majority of the country’s population. An estimated 70% of workers rely on agriculture for their livelihoods, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
In fact, Kenya is a leading producer of tea and coffee, and the third-leading exporter of fresh produce, which includes crops such as cabbages, onions and mangoes.
Agriculture is also the largest contributor to Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP) at 25%.
Although Kenya is perennially faced with supply deficits in most of its food sectors, the country continues to use instruments under the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC) agreements to limit food imports in order to help its smallholder farmers.
The country’s partnership with Google hopes to alleviate some of its problems, while also empowering smallholder farmers, who have often been described as the backbone of Kenya’s economy.
“We hope that through this initiative, we will see a positive impact on food security, job creation and GDP growth in Kenya,” Murito said.