UGANDA – Telecom company Airtel Uganda has launched Airtel Cares, an initiative that is dedicated to supporting communities, through digitizing agriculture.
The company also announced a partnership between Airtel and EzyAgric that is intended to boost agri-business in Uganda.
Airtel’s partnership with EzyAgric, an agric-tech company, will support farmers in embracing the use of technology through mobile phones to have access to useful information on agricultural inputs, market access, insurance options, marketing and weather information among other elements that will decision making.
“Airtel Cares, is an integral part of our business under our sustainability strategy in which we are committed to supporting the reduction of barriers to social and economic empowerment of communities in which we operate,” said Henry Njoroge, the Marketing Director at Airtel Uganda
“Today we are proud to be launching this service that allows farmers with feature phones to also access agricultural information to improve their decision making and productivity. Airtel Uganda remains committed to championing the growth of Uganda’s transformative sectors and we are happy to have more partners like EzyAgric who have committed to serve in this space.”
Officials said the feature phone users will access the information through a USSD/IVR and SMS notifications, while smartphone users will be able to download the EzyAgric farmer application on their phone.
According to the 2018 Annual Agriculture Survey report by Food Agricultural Organization and Uganda Bureau of Statistics, the agricultural sector employs over 80% of the rural population and about 64.3% of the working population.
“For many years, farmers have suffered losses because of lack of alignment of information on when to plant, what to plant, where to buy inputs, and at what price,” said MJosephine Okot, the founder and CEO Victoria Seeds Limited.
“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.”
“With over 70% of the population being employed in the Agricultural sector, it is without a doubt that agriculture continues to be among the key drivers of Uganda’s economic growth. I urge Ugandans to use this service and ensure that we continue to have food on our tables.”
Welcoming the partnership, William Luyinda, the Chief Executive Officer for EzyAgric said farmers will have access to information such as the farm/garden mapping, agric shop, Ezy credits, farm manager and produce market.
It will also include better extension which include crop nutrition, diary, news, videos, financial literacy, advisory topics for at least 15 crops in horticulture for; cereals, pulses, oilseeds and perennial crops, plant protection (tips on disease management a control), seed selection management, post-harvest handling and weather information among others.