An Agritech start up, launched in Uganda Thursday says is seeking to change the country’s agricultural sector and enhance smallholder farm productivity and rise incomes.
AgriShare is a social enterprise which uses mobile digital technology to connects farmers to services like land for hire, tractors, irrigation equipment, and labor and value addition equipment.
The web-based application is also targeting youth, Uganda’s largest population cluster who grapple with an employment.
Agriculture in Uganda employs over 70% but Ugandan farmers are also the poorest. Farm productivity is substance based because of the absence of equipment and other essential farming services.
“Over 70% of land in Uganda is arable for agriculture, yet less than 30% is under cultivation. Predominantly, the most used tools used are rudimentary. Admittedly, they are most times too expensive to afford. The twist is though, as some struggle to get equipment, others have them lying idle,” explained Paul Zaake, the Managing Director at AgriShare.
Zaake says he is building a network of agents to help farmers and service providers, who may not be familiar with smart phones.
How it works
Any farmer with a smartphone can download the Agrishare app and order equipment like labor, irrigation pumps, and resources like land and labor.
On the other side, a farmer with excess or idle resources can list them on the Agrishare application and earn extra money when they are hired out. In a nutshell, the application is where resource owners meet resource seekers.
With concerns of low smartphone penetration and high internet charges, Agrishare has agents spread all over the country, to help farmers book or list resources, says Paul Zaake, the Managing Director.
The AgriShare enterprise started in Zimbabwe and has enrolled thousands in the country and connected farmers to the much needed services. It has been operational in Uganda for more than one year with over over 50,000 registered clients.
Ugandan ICT Minister applauded the innovation as a way of tapping into technology to increase farmer incomes.
“We shall work with the Ministry of Agriculture and invite Agrishare to incorporate tech into the Parish Development Model in order to transform Agriculture in Uganda and eliminate poverty,” said Minister Chris Baryomunsi.
In his remarks, Christian Schinieper Country director of German organization WelthungerHilfe, Agrishare’s major partner, pledged their continued support to innovations that support livelihood, just like Agrishare.
Sarah Namubiru, a farmer in the country said her community in Luweero district has benefited from the enterprise, which she says has solved the local government inefficiency in the district.
“You would go to the district local government, they tell you it is mechanically down, you go to a few other farmers and you find their tractors are already booked for more than months. This changed when Agrishare started to point us to where the tractor owners were hiding,” said Namubiru.