By Mark Kawalya
The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) has entered into a strategic partnership with the Centenary Group’s Centenary Technology Services to boost the livelihoods of farmers through the digitalization of agribusiness using one digital agri-centered marketplace.
The two entities will, over the next two years, develop a single platform called the ‘Farmer Hub’ as a public portal that has been designed to facilitate access to digital services that farmers need in their day to day activities.
Dr. Aminah Zawedde, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, commended the two organizations during an event that was held at Serena Hotel Kampala, reiterating the government’s commitment to digital intervention.
“Digital technologies have the capability to enable farmers to understand the interdependence of the factors that affect their farm productivity. She said they play a key role in optimizing the use of seeds, pesticides, and animal management, thus contributing to a more efficient use of resources.
She added that the agriculture sector employs more than 70% of Uganda’s population with a contribution of 25% to the national GDP, making it imperative for the sector to be boosted.
The partnership will leverage the expertise of the two organizations to boost digital and financial inclusion of communities that are underserved, improving the livelihoods of farmers in Uganda. UNCDF brings a wealth of technical experience in utilizing digital tools to develop low-income segments along with its portfolio of financial tools (loans, grants) to guarantee impactful digital solutions are accessed and utilized by rural Ugandans via this platform.
“UNCDF has made tremendous gains working with private sector partners to pilot and scale viable business models that improve access to and usage of digital products and services for underserved communities to improve their productivity and efficiency. Now in partnering with Cente-Tech, UNCDF hopes to pioneer a new model that drives mass-adoption and scale among rural farming communities for digital products and service offerings—fostering strategic partnerships in the process for better service delivery to the target communities,” said Chris Lukolyo, Digital Country Lead, UNCDF.
Centenary’s nationwide network, especially in rural communities, will grant access to a large customer base that incorporates savings and credit associations that reach the underserved communities.
Cente-Tech’s Chief Technology Officer, Peter Kahiigi, said that “The eFarmer Hub will offer convenient, one-stop access to quality farm inputs at discounted prices, input loans, learning content on farming, and access to markets. An excellent addition to these already incredible features is the presence of digital services, namely, eHealth, eCommerce, and eEducation, among other services. “
“Our objective is simple, to make small farmers big and big farmers better,” he added.