Farmers urged to embrace digital platforms
What you need to know:
- Starting with the agriculture sector in 2022, the Digital Economy Programme has made considerable progress by studying the needs of 370 farmer producer organisations with 650,000 farmers, of which 250,000 are young farmers.
The Deputy Executive at National Planning Authority (NPA), Charles Olweny Ojok has urged farmers, technology entrepreneurs and organisations to embrace shared digital platforms that were on Wednesday showcased at Serena Hotel, Kampala.
The platforms bring multiple service providers, ranging from input suppliers, insurance companies, financial services providers together to serve young farmers.
“Using shared digital platforms will make it easier for end-users to access products and services, resulting in reduced operational costs, improved sales for entrepreneurs and service providers. The shared platforms will make it easier to reach last-mile users in the rural communities - who for long have been digitally excluded,” says Ojok.
The showcase event is part of the Digital Economy Programme that Innovation Village is implementing in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation. The programme aims to enhance access to essential services, products, markets, funding, and employment for 3.4 million people living in hard-to-reach areas across Uganda.
Ojok highlighted that the Digital Economy Programme aligns with the Government of Uganda’s commitment to creating a digitally driven economy and realising universal goals of inclusion, sustainable development, economic progress, and poverty eradication through digital transformation.
“Pushing the digitalisation agenda is crucial to attaining economic recovery, creating job opportunities for young people, and realising Vision 2040,” he says.
Starting with the Agriculture sector in 2022, the Digital Economy Programme has made considerable progress by studying the needs of 370 farmer producer organisations with 650,000 farmers, of which 250,000 are young farmers, understanding which value chains they play in and the attendant challenges they face, providing a basis on which to support innovators creating market-driven technology-enabled solutions.
The study report highlighted that most farmer organizations needed more digital tools and skills and faced challenges accessing reliable markets, financial services, and inputs, among others.
Based on these findings, together with partners such as the Uganda National Farmers Federation (UNFF), the Digital Economy Programme has designed interventions for the farmers, including training in marketing, financial literacy, business planning, and record keeping. The programme will also build the skills of entrepreneurs to design and implement solutions that bring multiple service providers together to offer affordable seamless technology-enabled services to youth, women, smallholder farmers, small business owners, and more.
Through the programme, innovation village has partnered with technology providers such as Hamwe East Africa and channel partners such as the Association of Microfinance Institutions of Uganda and the Grain Council of Uganda to design and implement these interventions, and to support innovators building and scaling appropriate solutions. The Digital Economy Programme will also leverage community pass – a technology platform that connects individuals to a full range of service providers through a unified infrastructure shared across service delivery providers.
Through the programme, innovators building solutions with community pass access a developer sandbox environment to ease integration and prototyping of solutions.
Providing market for farmers
Altogether, the digital economy programme supports those building and scaling technology-enabled solutions especially in agriculture. The programme further supports solution providers with building, testing and refining high-impact sustainable solutions, finding more efficient and cost-effective ways to serve end users, and taking solutions to market more effectively.
Adrian Bukenya, country director, Mastercard Foundation, Uganda, said the digital economy has the potential to provide solutions for increasing the farmers’ access to markets, financial services, inputs, and farming knowledge.
“Although digital entrepreneurs have created several solutions, farmers in rural areas have not accessed them because of poor digital literacy and limited access to the internet and devices.
This programme is leveraging shared digital platform services to enable enterpreneurs to scale their solutions to farmers that were previously excluded from the digital economy because of lack of connectivity and devices” says Bukenya.
Bukenya added programme is part of the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works Strategy, which seeks to enable 4.3 million young people in Uganda to access dignified and fulfilling work by 2030.
Japheth Kawanguzi, team lead, Innovation Village, said the Innovation Village would work with different partners to broaden and champion the national digital transformation agenda and accelerate the creation of jobs.
Altogether, the digital economy programme supports those building and scaling technology-enabled solutions especially in agriculture. The programme further supports solution providers with building, testing and refining high-impact sustainable solutions, finding more efficient and cost-effective ways to serve end users, and taking solutions to market more effectively..