Farmers and and agriculture experts will meet on 30th July to discuss opportunities to leverage ICT to improve agricultural production at the second edition of Vodafone Power Talks.
Speakers include agriculture experts and farmers who have successfully used ICTs on their farms will share their experiences which will be useful for anyone intending to venture into farming or is already into farming but is struggling to integrate technology in farm operations.
Speakers include: Dr. Maggie Kigozi, farmer, former Executive Director of Uganda Investment Authority and currently allow of the Africa Leadership Initiative of the Aspen Institute; Mr. Robert Kintu, the Principal Consultant and Managing Director, FIT Uganda; Victoria Sekitoleko farmer, former Minister of Agriculture, Food Agricultural Organisation Representative and the current Chairperson of the governing board of Uganda Agribusiness Alliance; Ronald Katamba, mobile application developer and founder of Afrosoft IT Sloutions; Stuart Oramire, a reserch fellowe and Director of Operations at Agency for Transformation.
“In Uganda, one major challenge is access to reliable and timely information. Inequity in access to information allows those with information to take advantage of those without it (often farmers), even though much of the information is technically within the public domain,” Mr Allan Richardson, CEO of Vodafone Uganda, aid. “This forum presents a unique opportunity for farmers and or anyone involved or interested in agribusiness to learn how to leverage ICTs to improve producation on their farms. We hope that this forum will be the start of the empowerment journey for agricultural entrepreneurs to enhance production, improve efficiency and profitability for their farms through technology,”
Over the past decade, Uganda has witnessed rapid expansion in telecommunication infrastructure and mobile technology which has enhanced the access, affordability, and adaptability of ICTs for development. While ICT is not a panacea that will solve all the issues related to the agriculture value chain development, it is important to exploit the value it offers in providing a better service.
The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) estimates that there are 19.5 million mobile phone subscribers in the country making it is easier to share and receive information today than it was in the past. As a result a number of innovations have come up that can help farmers to obtain markets for their goods, prices, and provide timely weather information via the mobile phones.
“When we talk ICT in agriculture, opportunities generally include applications for production systems management with a focus on improving data collection, processing and reporting through simple and affordable means that help farmers to make decisions that will improve (or protect) their incomes in both the short and long term,” Mr Richardson said.
“With about 80% of Uganda’s the total population directly employed in agriculture, integration of technology to improve agricultural production would contribute greatly not only to Uganda’s economic growth but it will also improve the livelihood of millions of Ugandans involved in agriculture. We believe ICT can potentially create an agricultural revolution in this country,” Mr. Richardson added.