Did you hear about the KilimoMart app which links small-scale farmers in Kenya and Uganda to the regional EAC market?
KilimoMart is the result of discussions among small-scale farmers in Uganda who were feeling that they were not benefiting from EA integration sufficiently. They were hearing about integration, but they were not feeling that it brought them any advantage. Hence, the idea to develop an online platform connecting small-scale farmers in the region to the various market opportunities in the region was developed and realised with financial support from EAC-GIZ via IIDEA. The main goal of the KilimoMart application is to promote the engagement of small-scale farmers in EAC integration by creating market opportunities and access to information in the six Partner States of the EAC.
“Through the app, which is available in English and Swahili, customers in Uganda can interact, and share ideas and information with others in Burundi or Tanzania without additional cost. The app makes citizens feel like they are situated in the same area, on the same platform, and they will begin to feel like one. It is our dream that KilimoMart is bringing the six countries together,” stresses Andrew Adem, Programs Manager at ESAFF Uganda.
Currently, the number of small-scale farmers using the KilimoMart application to access information has increased to 1,987 in the EAC region, while the number of citizens interacting through the platform reached 3,563 and continues to grow.
How does the app help small-scale farmers to trade amidst COVID-19 Pandemic?
During the COVID-pandemic, many people were forced to stay at home and order the goods that they need online. The KilimoMart app provides a platform for farmers to engage with consumers in their homes and sell products online. The pandemic also provided greater opportunities cater for the rising demand for health food such as organic produce among customers in towns and cities in the wake of the pandemic.
Small-scale organic farmer Makeba Jennifer from Gulu district in Uganda highlights that because of COVID-19 there is an increase in the demand for organic products, “I am now selling my organic products to consumers far from Gulu district and earning more profits.”
“The KilimoMart application is a great opportunity for women small-scale farmers in accessing markets. It has enabled me to sell my matooke outside my community which has never happened before. This has greatly improved my earnings,” testifies Beatrice Katsigazi, a small-scale farmer from Mubende district, Uganda.
ESAFF Uganda have now equipped a market warehouse and a motorcycle to deliver products to customers in Kampala and nearby places quicker and more efficiently. Clients around Kampala can now expect their produce to be delivered within two hours.
How does the app help citizens in the EAC access information?
With the high costs of obtaining reliable market information and searching for buyers and sellers, phones are instrumental and essential in helping link small-scale farmers to buyers in urban areas. Via the KilimoMart app Small-scale farmers get access to market and trade information and know commodity prices in various markets in Uganda and Kenya. This makes them more independent of middlemen and enables them to bargain for higher rates from traders and intermediaries.