KAMPALA – The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), with support from the Swedish government, has announced its partnership with four Ugandan companies to develop and scale up digital solutions that address the challenges smallholder farmers in Uganda face.
The funding will help the companies; Hamwe East Africa, Nilecom, Cabral Tech Limited and Quest Digital Finance Limited use their innovations to provide solutions to hundreds of farmers in the value addition chain. It will also help them develop, scale and apply tailor-made home-grown digital technologies to combat the systemic constraints in agriculture in Uganda’s rural communities.
The solutions, which will initially be applied in the North and West Nile regions of Uganda and Kiryandongo district, aim to unlock the systemic constraints in the agriculture sector with the ultimate goal of improving the productivity of smallholder farmers and consequently boosting the livelihoods of vulnerable families and communities.
Supporting local innovators in Uganda is one of the ways in which UNCDF is working to foster an inclusive digital economy that leaves no one behind.
Speaking to the media in Kampala, Chris Lukolyo the UNCDF Uganda Digital Lead explained that as the world is turning to digital solutions to address day-to-day challenges, millions of people in Uganda including smallholder farmers, women, youth and refugees are at risk of being left behind.
“By supporting Ugandan entrepreneurs to build solutions that address particular needs of vulnerable populations, we foster the growth of the digital ecosystem, improve life in these communities and enable excluded groups to become more active participants in the economy,” he said.
Hon Judith Nabakooba, the Minister of ICT and National Guidance appreciated the innovation and said it would go an extra mile to help most farmers improve their productivity in this digital era.
“The Ministry of ICT and National Guidance welcomes these innovations because driving the use of technology to increase productivity in agriculture is one of the objectives of the digital transformation agenda of the National Development Plan III,” she said.
According to Hon Vincent Ssempijja, the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries the new opportunities that these digital solutions will provide to smallholder farmers will help address the problems of all farmers from the grass root level which will boost their productivity and earning levels.
“We are witnessing first-hand the role that digital solutions can play in ensuring continuity in sectors like agriculture where disruption of services directly impacts food security and human survival,” he said.
Inclusive innovation is one of the work streams of the UNCDF digital strategy ‘Leaving No One Behind in the Digital Era’ envisioned to promote inclusive digital economies, specifically in least-developed countries (LDCs), in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In Uganda, the strategy aims to leverage technology to enable at least one million people access to, and usage of, impactful solutions in the sectors of finance, agriculture, health, education, and energy to improve their wellbeing.