Through the application, cooperatives will gather information about productivity to know the ones that are performing well and those that require training and financing.
A new mobile technology application dubbed "Emata" has been unveiled in order to increase farmers' access to finance and increased productivity in the dairy sector.
Through the application, cooperatives will gather information about productivity to know thepeople who are performing well and those that require training and financing.
The solution was powered by Rabobank foundation, Agribusiness Development Centre (ADC) in partnership with Laboremus Uganda (a tech firm). The memorandum of understanding between the three parties was signed last week at DFCU Bank offices in Nakasero.
"The plan is to roll out to over 20 cooperatives with time. However, the pilot will be done with three cooperatives working with ADC, first being Bugerere cooperatives to start with which has over 1,000 farmers that will be introduced and benefit from the platform," said Anja De Feijter, the executive director ADC.
She added: "Emata also will facilitate communication between cooperatives and farmers, and settle payment based on daily prices. The application can be operated offline. It also works in areas with fluctuating data connectivity."
Information Dairy Development Authority (DDA) indicates that Uganda exported about 2.5b litres in financial year 2017/2018. Media reports indicate that 80% of produced milk is marked and the remaining percentage is consumed at household level whereas only 33% of marketed milk is processed.
Feijter said high bank interest rates have led to reduced access to finance by farmers including diary), which has results into low productivity.
"When farmers get access to cheaper loans, they can invest in water sources and quality feeds which are important for milk production from cows. We strongly believe that if you have access to finance, it must be used well and reduce risks related to lending," she said.
Pim Mol, a director at Rabobank Foundation noted that Rabobank Foundation has been active for over 45 years focusing on financing farmers in organisations/ cooperatives.
Mol said the initiative will also boost self-reliance among farmers.
However,he said with Emata, lending interest rates to farmers' loans will be lowered to make it affordable as compared to those from expensive incumbent lenders and this will improve milk production.
Interest rates reduction will be done through using high end to end digital process, running risk analytics on each farmer based on live data shared by cooperatives and easing recovery of funds.
"For me it's a very happy day to be present at this signing of MOU," he added.
Laboremus Uganda managing director Bram Van den Bosch said the agriculture's potential to drive economic growth is enormous but innovation of farming is needed.
"We have been working on Emata application since 2017 to improve agriculture production in Uganda. That's an ambitious challenge that we can't do alone and that's why we are happy to have two new partners on board," said Bosch.