Centenary Technology Services (Cente-Tech) and the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) have today announced a strategic partnership to improve farmers’ livelihoods by digitalizing agribusinesses through a single digital agri-based marketplace dubbed ‘Farmer Hub’.
Over the next two years, Cente-Tech and UNCDF will implement Farmer Hub as a public good designed to provide access to digital services for farmers in their day-to-day lives.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, Dr. Aminah Zawedde, while speaking at the announcement of the partnership — congratulated Cente-Tech and UNCDF upon this landmark initiative noting that the government shall support the sector-led technology intervention
In her remarks, Zawedde said digital technologies have the capability to enable farmers to understand the interdependence of the factors that affect their farm productivity. “Digital technologies play a key role in optimizing the use of seeds, pesticides, and animal management, thus contributing to more efficient use of resources,” she said.
Peter Kahiigi, Cente-Tech’s Chief Technology Officer said the Farmer Hub will offer convenient, one-stop access to quality farm inputs at discounted prices, input loans, learning content on farming, and access to markets. “Our objective is simple, to make small farmers big and big farmers better,” notes Kahiigi.
The partnership will harness Cente-Tech and UNCDF’s expertise in enabling digital and financial inclusion of underserved communities to improve the lives and livelihoods of farmers in rural Uganda.
In this partnership, UNCDF brings its extensive technical expertise in making digital work for rural, low-income segments alongside its suit of financing tools (grants, loans, guarantees) to ensure that relevant and impactful digital solutions are accessed and used by rural Ugandans through this platform — while Centenary’s countrywide network and consumer base, particularly in rural communities, will allow the solution-providers access to a large customer base that includes savings and credit associations that reach the most underserved communities.
UNCDF has been working to integrate digitalization into day-to-day services that meet the everyday needs of rural communities in the agriculture, finance, health, education, and energy sectors with a specific focus on ensuring that traditionally marginalized populations like smallholder farmers, women, youth, and refugees can fully reap the benefits of an inclusive digital economy.
“UNCDF has made tremendous progress working with private sector partners to pilot and scale viable business models that improve access to and usage of digital products and services for underserved communities to improve their productivity and efficiency,” said Chris Lukolyo, Digital Country Lead, UNCDF. “Now in partnering with Cente-Tech, we hope to pioneer a new model that drives mass adoption and scale among rural farming communities for digital products and service offerings — fostering strategic partnerships in the process for better service delivery to the target communities.
Cente-Tech and UNCDF will embark on building the Farmer Hub through collaboration with development stakeholders, including government entities, application developers, and solution providers, to ensure that more farmers access various digital services on the platform. In addition to the Farmer Hub, Cente-Tech and UNCDF will provide financial and digital literacy training to users of the platform, offer advisory services, and create avenues for knowledge exchange among actors in the agricultural and digital ecosystems.