An app that points Ugandan farmers to agricultural services and players, from farm to folk, is being credited with bridging information gap that has been blamed for the dismal uptake of modern technologies further fanning the hunger cycle.
The real time agribusiness directory dubbed AgriTrader has been developed by Innocent Roy Owor, a self taught app developer set out on a mission to amend the situation. Like many other successful apps, AgriTrader app idea conceptualization was hatched from a tech networking event for developers Garage48.
Roy explained the need for the AgriTrader, “It’s frustrating that despite agriculture being the biggest employer and contributor to most African countries’ GDP, very little is being done to offer solutions and information on market linkages to farmers. The outcome is that everyone operates in darkness because they lack the right way of communicating and interacting,” he said.
According to him, the barrier and space between players in agriculture is the country’s biggest undoing and therefore AgriTrader app is a way of leveraging on technology to bring together every player in the agricultural sector for the sake of the country’s economy.
With increased internet penetration in East Africa app developers like Owor are upping their game in the race to offer solutions that will be beneficial to the economy. Currently, Uganda is estimated to have over 19 million users of mobile phones according Uganda Communication Commission and with smart phone prices on a free fall, their distribution is posed to overtake feature phones in the near future.
AgriTrader app which is available on Google app store is mobile based and targets the whole chain of agribusiness including farmers, buyers, policy makers among others. For one to set up the app on mobile phone, Owor explained that one sets up his profile with details indicating the field of specialization and interest, core experience, what you trade in, location among others.
Unlike other service platforms, Owor noted that they are keen on quality and therefore have instituted a team of field officers to help in verification of the details of clients and rating them in order to weed out any cons. “We have recruited field officers who will ensure quality of products being sold within a particular location and also consultants to provide knowledge on specific topics of interest especially to farmers. Our vetting process is thorough and gives one a clearance certificate to continue transacting using the application. Unrated members are also highlighted in the system and members using the app are forewarned to deal with them at their own peril,” he said.
As long as one is already subscribed to the service, he will get alerts on the specific points of interest that he chose while setting up his profile. For a farmer who has harvested his produce and wants to sell through the app, after posting what he has, anybody using the app who has subscribed to being in need of such produce will get an alert and then the negotiation can take effect.
The application can run both online and offline and therefore being ideal for most players in the agribusiness especially farmers who most times are located in remote areas with poor network coverage.