Smallholder farmers in Kiryandongo will soon have their productivity improved and the consequential livelihoods of vulnerable families and communities boosted in the district.
This was revealed by Mr Chris Lukolyo, the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) Uganda Digital Lead speaking to Kazi-njema News in Kampala today (Monday).
Mr Lukolyo said that with support from the Swedish government, UNCDF has partnered with four Ugandan companies to provide solutions to hundreds of farmers in Kiryandongo district, North and West Nile regions in the value addition chain.
He added that the funding will also help small holder farmers to develop, scale and apply tailor-made home-grown digital technologies to combat the systemic constraints in agriculture in Uganda’s rural communities.
Mr Lukolyo 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.
With funding helping the four selected companies including Hamwe East Africa, Nilecom, Cabral Tech Limited and Quest Digital Finance Limited, supporting local innovators in Uganda is one of the ways in which UNCDF is working to foster an inclusive digital economy that does not leave anyone 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.
Ms Judith Nabakooba, the Minister of ICT and National Guidance said that the innovation 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.
Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Minister, Mr Vincent Ssempijja, said that 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.