The innovation will rescue farmers who, for many years, have suffered losses
Kampala, Uganda | ISAAC KHISA | Airtel Uganda has unveiled Airtel Cares, an initiative set to support communities with digitalised agriculture, health and education services.
The telco on Jan.24 rollout digitalised agriculture value chain services in partnership with an agri-tech firm, EzyAgric, to be followed up with the launch of the remaining services.
The initiative to be piloted for six months will see farmers receive 500MBs for 30days every month, enabling them to access useful information on agricultural inputs, market access, insurance options, marketing and weather information among others through mobile phones to boost the agriculture sector.
Henry Njoroge, marketing director at Airtel Uganda said Airtel Cares seeks to reduce barriers to social and economic empowerment of the communities countrywide.
“We shall be making continuous investment in affordable and innovative products, solutions and partnerships in the areas of agriculture, education and health,” he said during the launch of Airtel Care at Sylvia Farm in Luweero District.
“We are proud (that the agriculture) service will also allow farmers with feature phones to also access agricultural information to improve their decision making and productivity.”
Njoroge said farmers with feature phones will access the agriculture information through a USSD and SMS notifications, while Smartphone users will be able to access the information through the downloaded EzyAgric farmer application.
Uganda’s agriculture sector employs more than three quarters of the population but limited access to extension services has hampered productivity and growth.
EzyAgric Chief Executive Officer, William Luyinda, said farmers will have access to advice from a range of resources available in their long list of extension workers within several districts in various languages including English, Lugbara, Lumasaba, Runyakitara and Luganda available on the EzyAgric App.
“Farmers will have access to information such as; garden mapping, Agric shop, Ezy credits, farm manager, produce market, better extension which includes; crop nutrition, diary, news, videos, financial literacy, advisory topics for at least 15 crops in horticulture including cereals, pulses, oil seeds and perennial crops, plant protection (tips on disease management & control), seed selection management, post-harvest handling, weather information, among others,” he said.
Commenting on the new development, Josephine Okot, CEO Victoria Seeds said the innovation will rescue farmers who, for many years, have suffered losses due to lack of alignment of information on when to perform various activities on their farms.
“They have also lacked information on how to control pests and diseases, where to sell their products and at what price. We are confident that this partnership will go a long way in bridging this gap,” she said adding that the population need to embrace the initiative to improve agriculture productivity, income and livelihoods.