BY SAMUEL NABWIISO,
Access to markets is still a challenge for most small-scale farmers in Uganda, especially women in rural areas.
This exposes them to exploitation, hence little earnings, which keep most small-scale farmers in poverty.
To address this challenge, small-scale farmers have explored the possibility of using online technology to accessing markets and information, which will also expose them to opportunities fostered by the East African Community (EAC) Common market, which allows the free movement of people, goods and services.
With financial assistance from GIZ and through the Incubator for Integration and Development in East Africa (IIDEA) IIDEA program, Eastern and Southern Africa Small-scale farmer’s forum (Uganda Chapter) ESAFF Uganda, in partnership with Kenya Small-scale Farmer Forum (KESSFF) together, have developed the KilimoMart Application.
Kilimo Application is an online market for organic products produced by small-scale farmers in the East African region.
To that effect, recently ESAFF Uganda launched the market warehouse and a motorcycle transport network that will support the delivery of products to customers in Kampala and the nearby places.
The objective of this is to reduce the waiting time for clients to enable Kampala consumers to receive their orders in less than two hours.
The warehouse is set up with packing materials and machines, measuring and clearing rooms with an automatic receipt system.
The launch that took place in Ntinda, Kampala, was graced by small-scale farmer leaders from different regions of the country.
Speaking at the launch of the warehouse in Kampala, the chairperson ESAFF Uganda, Hakim Baliraine, noted that with the development of a farmers’ warehouse, products delivery shall improve to reduce time wastage.
“Small-scale farmers shall enjoy an increase in orders since through the one-stop-center for organic products created by the warehouse” He explained.
He further noted that ESAFF Uganda, in partnership with KESSFF, will open a warehouse in Kenya and in the future in all the EAC cities.
ESAFF Uganda has also made an upgrade on the KilimoMart Application website, ensuring that small-scale farmers continue to access market opportunities and information, including market information, weather, EAC laws, and policies.
The platform also provides services like extension, agricultural inputs, and marketing and transport services.
The KilimoMart Application has played a significant role in improving small-scale farmers’ knowledge in using ICT in accessing online markets in the EAC region.
Paul Kabwama from Mukono district, Uganda, said; “consumers were not buying my organic products because they are expensive or even when sold they would buy them cheaply because people don’t know the difference between organic products and inorganic products, but because of the KilmoMart Application, my organic products are being sold at the premium prices.”
He also added that with this new development, small-scale farmers will enjoy better opportunities and high earnings in Uganda since the hindrances have been addressed” He explained.
Ms. Nancy Mugimba, the National Coordinator of ESAFF Uganda, the parent owner of the KilimoMart Application, appreciated the GIZ IIDEA program for support, equipping of the warehouse and promoting small-scale farmers’ access to the EAC regional market.
Background: since its launch in May 2020, KilimoMart Application faced two significant problems, transportation problems and storage in Kenya and Uganda.
This always led to a delay in delivering orders to clients, hence affecting some willing customers’ decisions.