Digital technology helps increase farmers’ access to extension services
Part of the Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA)’s role in Uganda is to support the government’s efforts toward efficient agricultural extension delivery. This has been achieved through the use of e-Extension technologies that support farmers via applications like m-Omulimisa, and Ezy Agric. M-Omulimisa enables farmers to attach images of their field status and request for advice from extension officers and receive real-time responses from extension officers. Through the platform, farmers can also report and receive alerts on pests and disease outbreaks, access service providers, and communicate with fellow farmers. The EzyAgric app, on the other hand, enables farmers to map their land for better decision-making, sell and buy produce, record transactions, interact with village agents, get climate updates and receive farming tips.
Betson Mujuuni (38), an SAA Community-Based Facilitator (CBF) from the Mbaare region of the Isingiro district, says: “Sasakawa taught me how to use the platforms and now, I teach others. I train farmers to use phone-based applications to access inputs, market information, among others; I oversee 60 (38 female) farmers in four groups.” Through his training in e-Extension Mujuni was able to support numerous farmers in navigating the production challenges of the 2020 and 2021 COVID period, an engagement that saw him get appointed the chairman of his parish. Countrywide, the SAA’s e-Extension service is proved to be instrumental in reducing Uganda’s extension worker to farmer ratio, which currently sits at 1:1,800 the recommendation of 1:500.