Mazao Talks


The Internet of soil: Why data is the next frontier for farmers

If there’s something to be said about how travel can immeasurably enrich one’s life then I am probably the best person to tell it.  I have had a chance to see so many different peoples and experience cultures, especially outside Kenya. My name is Jason Runo and I have had the blessing in life to work in several industries that include media, aviation, marketing, and entertainment. But if you were to ask me when I have felt the happiest or when I have found my true self, I will tell you that the answer is in bee-keeping. 
They say a man will travel the whole world to know what he needs then return home to find it.  Around the time when COVID 19 struck, I decided to follow this newfound interest in beekeeping and started a company that works with farmers to build capacity in beekeeping through training, hive installation, consultancy, and advocacy in beekeeping. Through that work, I have learned many things but the most important are these 3.

It’s just so inspiring. These stories
will blow your mind”

Agri-business is the future 

I know that this phrase has sometimes become cliché. And that’s a bit tragic, to be honest. But I have to say that I truly believe in it. In fact, there’s no industry that I can think of where passion and hard work can deliver so much good. Just imagine a passion that feeds people and that creates life and happiness. What better way can a man live than to work with nature to support fellow men? And even if you just focus on the bottom line, the opportunity for sustainable businesses in agriculture and the food sector, in general, is unbelievable. Actually, the work doesn’t even need to be in the actual production, there are so many opportunities that I wish more people knew about within the different value chains. 

Farmers need more support 

One of the things that have warmed my heart the most about my recent work with farmers is just how generous they are. No matter where you go in Kenya the soul of the farmer is the same. Honest open-minded people who are navigating many structural issues every single day. And even though sometimes they fail they still keep working very hard to find solutions. Every now and then I have met and seen wildly successful farmers who are truly reaping the most from their work. However, the majority of the farmers in Kenya are still not where we want them to be. And so, in my final analysis what I have concluded is that with the right support from the government and other industry stakeholders the fortunes of many farmers can truly be changed. 

We need more data. Everybody needs more data

I know it’s counter-intuitive to think about farming as technology and data-dependent work. However, in all the stories that I have seen and even in my own experience tech and data are really the key to success in agri-business in 2021 and beyond. Even the simplest most accessible thing which is just social media can really be a key driver of success in agri-business. This is a truth that I wish more people knew. In fact, it’s the single most impressive thing that I have earned. To be a great and successful farmer begins with data, not with soil.

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