Small scale farmers’ organizations from Uganda and Kenya have launched an online Agricultural marketing platform that will support them to access information related to their work.
The marketing application code-named Kilimo Mart application was developed jointly by the Eastern and Southern Africa Smallholders Farmers Forum Uganda Chapter in collaboration with Kenya Small scale Farmers Forum with support from the East African Community and other Development partners.
Mathias Kasamba the Chairperson of the Agriculture, Natural Resources and Tourism Committee in the East African Legislative Assembly said the development of the online application is a strong milestone towards the development of the Agriculture sector in the region.
“The East African Community offers a bigger market to the Agricultural produces from the Member States but the majority of the farmers have not exploited the opportunities due to lack of information related to the availability of the markets.
“This has exposed many farmers from being cheated by middlemen. However, with this online platform, such challenges will be sorted out,” said Kasamba during the online Launch of the platform.
He said the integration of ICTs in the agricultural sector by the East African Member States plays a big role since it can attract special interest groups such as the Youth to participate in the Agricultural sector with their ICT skills.
Elaborating more on the usage of the application, Nancy Mugimba the National Coordinator of ESAFF Uganda, said the platform will help small scale farmers to access markets for their produces especially organic Agricultural produces.
The Kilimo Mart platform will offer markets linkages for organic products between small scale farmers and consumers.
It will also empower small-scale farmers in Kenya and Uganda (and the EAC region) to explore and utilize the current agriculture trade prospects in the region.
Mugimba said the platform will also strengthen inclusive small-scale farmers’ online engagement with different stakeholders in the EAC region to promote regional integration.
Kilimo Mart gives small scale farmers in EAC the opportunity to access information like market information, farming practices and techniques, weather information, laws and policies including East African Community (EAC) updates.
Alphayo Kuruna the Chairperson of Kenya Smallholder Farmers Forum said most Governments in the East African Community are paying less attention to smallholder farmers yet they contribute much to the economic development of those countries.
Hakim Baliraine the ESAFF Uganda chairperson said East African member states should develop policies that can support the smallholder farmers in the region to compete with their counterparts in other regions in the World.
Speaking on behalf of the Smallholder farmers in Uganda Christine Nabwami a farmer from Mityana District in Central Uganda applauded the two organizations for coming up with application but asked the farmer’s organization to ensure that farmers are equipped with the necessary skills on how to use ICT in the marketing of their Agricultural produces since the majority of the farmers are still ICT illiterate.