Intuitively, large-scale farming seems to be the simplest solution to feeding the world’s rapidly growing population, but this is somewhat short-sighted. Smallholders produce about one-third of the world’s food and actually play an important role in supporting rural economies.
Unfortunately, however, small farmers are struggling, especially when it comes to accessing markets, they lack information on what to produce and there is no monitoring of the quality of their produce.
Fintech startup E-source Farm App (eSus) is on a mission to bridge the information gap by providing farmers with information about climate change and other vagaries farmers face.
Speaking to the media at a launch event in Kampala, Prof. Akaezuwa Emeka, Vice-Chancellor of the International University of East Africa (IUEA), said agriculture must be one of the sectors that needs more attention as the country is adopting technology and innovation.
“Small farmers hold the key to solving the food security problems the world faces, but they also increasingly face barriers to profitability. We have realized that agriculture contributes the most to the national economy, but due to a lack of effective information, farmers still face the challenge of climate change . That’s why we launched an online platform for farmers to access information,” said Emeka.
Currently, food production on commercial farms can be predicted. This is partly because there is ample data on what commercial farmers are doing on their farms.
However, it is impossible to do this for the smallholder sector precisely because data are not available. eSus Farm is bringing precision farming to the smallholder sector.
Prof Emeka added that they are getting more students involved in technology and innovation to save the country from the air pollution that causes climate change.
“Technology and innovation programs are very effective and need the support of people who want to save farmers. People need to see what we are doing and how farmers will benefit from our different innovations,” he added.
Professor Emeka explained that the E-source Farm app will enable farmers to use their mobile phones to showcase their products and get the latest information on farming as small farmers do not have access to available markets and middlemen are buying their products at very low cost.
“It’s not easy for farmers to access regional markets from their respective regions without any support, that’s why we’ve come up with this platform that will help them reach more people faster and cheaper because they don’t have to Pay to use the platform,” he said.
The app is initially available on the Airtel network by dialing *222#, and since it is still in pilot mode soon, it will be available on other platforms starting next year.
Mohammed Hassan Ahmed, a student at IUEA, said that through the university, they have introduced technological initiatives to save smallholder farmers from economic instability.
Young people need to embrace technology and innovation, he said, as it helps the younger generation plan for their future, rather than graduating and starting looking for a job.
“Since we don’t have the money to support farmers, we have created an electric tractor technology that will benefit small farmers from the technology, as this is one of the challenges they face. Small farmers don’t have the financial means to buy and use advanced technology, but they can manage Rent these advanced machines to increase production,” he said
Hassan added that electric tractors would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the environment.
eSus Farm is an agricultural fintech company specializing in tracking and delivering advanced agricultural statistics for smallholders and the entire agricultural value chain to improve agricultural productivity, smallholders’ access to markets and credit, and the overall efficiency of the agricultural value chain.