An aWhere team recently participated in the official launching of the Market-Led User Owned ICT 4Ag Enabled Information Service (MUIIS) in Kampala, Uganda. This new initiative funded by The Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs, seeks to improve the productivity of 350,000 Ugandan farmers by providing them with weather data, agronomic information, and financial services.
aWhere is participating by integrating hyper-local satellite weather data with crop specific agronomic tips that will be provided directly to Ugandan farmers on their mobile phones. In the keynote address, the Honorable Mike Sebalu, the representative to the East African Regional Parliament, asserted that this project will improve the productivity of Ugandan agriculture “making space technology and advanced information systems available for farmers to use on a daily basis.”
The project offers aWhere the opportunity to collaborate with two leading Dutch technology companies, eLeaf and EARS Holding BV that use Energy and Water Balancing Systems (EWBS), at the continental scale, to monitor vegetative health and growth of crops. By combining EWBS observations with aWhere’s agricultural intelligence, MUIIS will be able to deliver field level insights and agronomic information to northern Ugandan farmers. AGRA, a prominent African agricultural development organization, will provide the specific, regional agricultural tips in the local languages and train local value chain participants to integrate satellite information into their decision-making.
The launch ceremony was preceded by an intensive two-day planning workshop organized by CTA, the project lead. This was a great opportunity for the aWhere team to have in-depth discussions about project strategies for content development and distribution to farmers with project leads from other participating companies.
In order to reach the targeted 350,000 farmers, aWhere will work with local partners that provide the last mile contact with farmers, including Mercy Corps’ Mobile Banking and Information System (MOBIS), a successful mobile application that has been improving financial services to farmers since 2012. The vast majority of MOBIS subscribers are farmers, so the MUIIS will be highly relevant to their needs and should be highly anticipated.
Another notable partner is the East African Farmers' Federation (EAFF), whose member organizations in Uganda include the Uganda National Farmers Federation and the Uganda Cooperative Alliance. The timing of MUIIS’s launch coincides with the planned launch of EAFF’s e-Granary mobile application that will connect millions of farmers across the region to grain storage and marketing services. e-Granary will collect the key information of farmer’s location, crop planted, and planting date, this will provide valuable data to make the markets in the region operate more efficiently, and drive aWhere’s agronomic models. By combining the services offered by these applications and the hyperlocal agrometeorological insights that aWhere and partners will provide, Ugandan farmers will truly have unprecedented access to services and information, in the palm of their hand.