By Mark Kawalya
Akorion is an agritech startup that digitalizes agricultural value chains to support farmers so that they can access quality production and marketing services. At its core, the firm aims to address gaps that exist in the agriculture value chain in Uganda. The name Akorion is derived from the Iteso dialect and means ‘farmer’.
The firm disseminates up-to-date agricultural data and best farming practices using mobile technology, which enables smallholder farmers to boost their productivity and competitiveness.
EzyAgric, the firm’s proprietary app, is an online marketplace for farmers where they can be linked to suppliers of seeds, farm tools, herbicides, pesticides, and a host of other high-quality farm inputs. Akorion took this direction in their business model to help counter one of the biting issues facing the agriculture sector in Uganda, namely the wide scale selling of counterfeit agro-inputs to farmers who are none the wiser.
Additionally, farmers can use the app to access financial and advisory services such as profitable market information and soil testing services. Akorion is working with more than 60,000 farmers in various value chains in Uganda.
“Over the next 12 months, through our partnership with K+S and MFS Africa, we plan to find a pan-African solution and expand the scope of the app to Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, and Zambia.” William Luyinda, CEO and co-founder of Akorion said in a previous interview.
The firm has established a network of village agents that record farmers’ records (demographic and biodata inputs) and map the area cultivated using GPS. Mapping the land guides farmers on the quantities of inputs they will need and also enables them to calculate the estimated returns they will reap after harvesting the crops.
By using a smartphone, the village agent provides information to farmers such as agronomic best practices, current market prices, weather forecasts, as well as digital financial services like savings and crop insurance. The App also serves as a virtual market that links producers, buyers, exporters and input suppliers.
The EzyAgric app is very easy to use and can be installed on even the most basic smartphone, taking up only 5MB of space. Farmers can use it to identify crop infestations that they are ignorant about. All they have to do is take a picture of the pest, which they send to the team of EzyAgric agronomists who give them feedback on pesticides and treatment they can use to eradicate the pests or crop disease. A list of possible genuine suppliers of the pesticide is also given to the farmer using the app.
When farmers are ready to harvest their crops, they can use the EzyAgric App, which connects them to various produce buyers that are willing to offer the most competitive market prices.