IIDEA partner ESAFF Uganda has found a solution and developed the KilimoMart application.
It was officially launched by Hon. Mathias Kasamba, Chairperson of the Agriculture, Tourism and Natural Resources (ATNR) Committee of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) on 5 May 2020 in an online event.
The Kilimo Mart App allows small-scale farmers to get access not only to markets, but also to agriculture services, farming practices and techniques, weather information, laws and policies including EAC updates. There is also an interactive Forum with consumers and other actors for the exchange of knowledge and experience.
The majority of people in East Africa get their livelihood directly from agriculture, and most of the food producers in EAC are small-scale farmers, mainly women. Governments in the EAC have recognised agriculture as the engine for development of their economies. The Common Market Protocol presents a great opportunity for small-scale farmers to profit from the opportunities brought by regional integration.
“Despite all these opportunities, small-scale farmers, especially women, have long felt left out, mainly because of limited information on the opportunities in the EAC integration agenda and due to limited platforms for engagement,” said Mr Hakim Baliraine, the ESAFF Chairperson.
“Small scale farmers are important players in furthering economic growth of the region,” noted Ms Joyce Kevin Abalo, Senior Advisor IIDEA-GIZ EAC Programme. She appealed to the EAC Partner States to strengthen regional agricultural value chains by offering support to small-scale farmers and traders, provide a regional e-commerce and payment platform for SMEs and Cross border, develop a regional land use policy that favours food production and provide greater market access to East African Agricultural products and provide digital literacy to the farmers, especially to women and youth, who are the majority farmers in East Africa.
“Information is power. This application will go a long way in breaking the barriers that small-scale farmers were facing in relation to enjoying the fruits of the EAC integration,” stated Mr Alphayo Kuruna, National Chairperson of Kenya Small Scale Farmers Forum (KESSF).
Ms Christine Nabwami, a small-scale farmer from Mityana district, added that the launch of the KilimoMart Application came as a great help at the right time, when the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictive measures put in place by governments across the EAC had made it very difficult for small scale farmers to access markets physically.
In its initial stage, the KilimoMart Application will be available for farmers in Uganda and Kenya, but it can be expanded to all EAC Partner States.