By Elias Hakizimana.
Farmers grouped in Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF) will benefit from a new mobile platform dubbed “e-Granary” that was launched on November 28, 2018 in Kigali.
The mobile platform intends to help in delivering economic services to farmers in Eastern Africa and was piloted in Kenya. It will be operating in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania under the East Africa Farmers Federation to boost entrepreneurship and financing initiatives.
The innovation was launched by Dr. Charles Murekezi, the Director General in charge of agriculture at the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) in Kigali Serena Hotel.
Murekezi said that the platform will facilitate farmers to get agriculture inputs, access to markets where they will be linked to buyers of their produce.
“Our Mission as the ministry is to transform agriculture sector to ensure it contributes effectively to the economic growth. One of the areas we are focusing on is farmer’s profitability and commercialization by ensuring we increase the returns to our capital. We look forward to working closely with farmers and we believe the e-Granary will boost the profitability and development of our farmers,” Murekezi noted.
In line with handling market gap, the mobile technology will see the capacity building of smallholder farmers and will link them with consumers of their produce especially rice, maize and beans. A farmer will have access to information in regard with efficient prices, and will get to know who and where are the clients.
Besides, farmers will access financial services “loans” from the microfinance Institutions to buy seeds and fertilizers or extend their activities.
European Union Ambassador Nicola Bellomo said that this initiative is a key input to development especially in this sector of agriculture by improving the efficiency and profitability of agribusiness.
“I think this this technology is very important element into this sector and agriculture represents endless opportunities. This is also good as it will improve living condition of the people,” the Ambassador said.
Jean Paul Munyakazi, the chairman of Imbaraga Framers Organisation in Rwanda commended the initiative, saying that they have recently met in Naivasha in Kenya in a special cabinet to assess farmers’ challenges that can find solutions with the e-Granary mobile platform.
“We first found that the market gap and low prices especially of cereals and beans are key challenges when we compare to the efforts invested-in. From there we decided as Eastern African Farmers’ Federation to put efforts together in spreading information based on the produce we have. We used to have quality and enough produce but other countries could miss out of that information.” Said Munyakazi.
“The main problem is not lack of markets, but the markets we have do not provide us the benefits that match with our invested efforts.” He added.
The e-Granary will help farmers handle post-harvest management and connect with buyers as currently 30% of the agriculture produce is lost due to poor post-harvest management.
“We are soon signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the microfinance Institutions to ease investment in agribusiness and discuss on how to reduce interest rate as currently a farmer is required to pay between 19-24 percent and our activities get slow benefits an in a long period,”
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