Expanding Opportunities in Agriculture with Digital Tools: CPM’s 2017 Digi Award Story

Expanding Opportunities in Agriculture with Digital Tools: CPM’s 2017 Digi Award Story


Smallholder farmers make up almost 95 percent
of this country’s population. They don’t have collateral
and they’re not traceable in the agricultural ecosystem. Financial institutions are struggling to know
who they are, how much are they producing. If smallholder farmers are not traceable,
they don’t have collateral, it means that it’s going to be a very high
risky business for these financial institutions. Akorion is an AgTech company that focuses
on digitizing the agricultural ecosystem. We developed an app for the farmers
but we found that the developed applications were not user-centered. So when we met CPM, they helped us to go on
the ground and understand the user, the particular person
that we wanted, the smallholder farmer. CPM stands for Commodity Production and Marketing
activity. CPM brings various actors together to support
smallholder farmers to access the right information,
the right extension services, inputs, and market information to be able to improve
their productivity. We have developed an application called EzyAgric,
That is used by farmers to access information in production and marketing, plus bundled
services. The application has an animation which shows
how to spray, how to apply fertilizers. It has information about market information. There’s content on the application
of where you can upload your products with the pictures
and then you set the prices, you send it to the local markets. EzyAgric teaches the farmers when to grow,
what to grow, when to eat, what to eat. As the farmer transacts on the application
to get the right agronomy practices we capture financial data about these farmers
and their behavior. We use this to create digital financial profiles
for the farmer. One of the benefits of data profiling
is to have all of your farmers at your fingertips. We always look so smart when we are approaching
other partners. For example, when we are looking for agriculture
financing in banks, we go with our farmers on a database on a
phone. I sit with a manager by my phone,
‘Look I have these hundreds and thousands of farmers.” And immediately you just win the heart of
this business partner on arrival. These tools give transparency to the agriculture
market ecosystem. CPM designed a unique model called the village
agent model. That can bring all the actors in the chain
together. Through the agents the farmer uses EzyAgric
at the beginning of the season to map out their farmland. They use this acreage to access services like
inputs, insurance, and planting and any other production services based on
the actual acreage that they quote. During production they procure services directly
on the app, and they are able to get a report about the
cost of production at the end of the production season. We are able to know which farmer is doing
what. We are able to know how many farmers are into
coffee, how many farmers are into beans, how many
farmers are into goats. We’ve been able to build more of a user-centered
platform That can easily be used by the farmers and
the intermediaries. Because of the use of the EzyAgric app
the farmers are making decisions on when to sell. The EzyAgric app is going to help stabilize
markets and increase farmer’s income because they
make informed decisions. Before Feed the Future, we were doing agriculture
within the district as a community. But now with Feed the Future we can trade
with the globe. They are linking us to markets. As a result of our efforts,
we intend to transform the agricultural ecosystem in Uganda. We hope to get at least 20 percent of the
farmers digitized on the platform within the next
8 years. We have big, big hopes. It’s like life is made easy by just the
touch of a phone screen. I’m seeing the country following a global
trend of adoption of technology. I’m seeing the future of agriculture,
of young, enthusiastic technologists who are trying to
change the way we have been doing agriculture as a country.

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