Ugandan farmers set to get Microsoft digital tools
Ugandan small scale-farmers are among farmers and agriculture-linked small businesses in four countries in Africa, that will be getting digital tools under Microsoft’s digital transformation initiative. At least 50,000 farmers and 50 cooperatives are expected to benefit from this initiative in the four countries.
A partnership between Microsoft’s 4Afrika initiative and IFC, the program seeks to support digital transformation in Africa’s agribusiness sector and better farmer earnings, through modernisation of supply chains and improved farmers’ productivity in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire.
The program will be implemented through a partnership with Microsoft’s KuzaBot mobile chat platform, which will speed and ease the dissemination of vital information to farmers on good agricultural and business practices.
“Microsoft 4Afrika’s strategy is to invest in agri-tech to unlock Africa’s vibrant potential, accelerating innovation in agri-tech to enable data-driven farming that can optimise yields, boost farm productivity and increase profitability – all while feeding a nation,” said Kendi Nderitu, Country Manager for Microsoft Kenya.
Agribusiness contributes about 25 per cent of Africa’s GDP and 70 per cent of its employment but the use of digital tools in the sector in Africa is often limited by infrastructure, affordability, awareness, and regulatory issues.
The initiative is premised on the assumption that digital technology can catalyse the operation of key supply chains in the food system through higher efficiencies, improved business practices, traceability, food safety and, access to finance.
“Digital technologies have the power to transform small-scale farming in Africa. By making digital tools more accessible to farmers, cooperatives and last-mile retailers, Microsoft and IFC can together help the agribusiness sector to capitalise on the opportunities afforded by the digital economy,” says Samuel Dzotefe, the IFC’s acting Regional Director for Industry, Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Services, Middle East & Africa.
The partnership will tap into Microsoft 4Afrika’s purpose-built digital platforms and the IFC’s Agribusiness Leadership Program to Industry provide small-scale farmers, their cooperatives, and “last mile retailers” with access to information and digital tools to strengthen farming practices, build business professionalism and improve food security and traceability throughout the supply chain.
According to the 2021 Global Report on Food Crises, around 155 million people were facing acute food insecurity in 2020 across 55 countries or territories, an increase of around 20 million people from 201. Six of the ten countries with the highest number of people facing food insecurity were in Africa.