August 3, 2015

Vodafone Power Talks: ICT is the Solution To Agriculture Setbacks

On 30th July 2015 at the Kampala Serena hotel, Vodafone held its second Power Talk and this time speakers focused on Information Computing and Technology (ICT) initiatives and best practices to improve agricultural value chains and agribusinesses.

Vodafone CEO Allan Richardson addressing guests at the second edition of the Vodafone powertalks that took place at Kampala Serena Hotel last Thursday
Vodafone CEO Allan Richardson addressing guests at the second edition of the Vodafone powertalks that took place at Kampala Serena Hotel last Thursday

This forum presented a unique opportunity to farmers and anyone involved or interested in agribusiness to interact and network with peers in the sector.

Vodafone CEO Allan Richardson told Red Pepper that the forum focused on ICT Initiatives on agriculture which is critical to Uganda’s economy is facing a number of difficulties which can be mitigated by ICTs.

“Agriculture remains a key driver of Uganda’s economy and yet there are numerous challenges that could be addressed through solutions ranging from ICT for production systems management, ICT for market access services, and ICT for financial inclusion,” Richardson said.

He added; “In Uganda, one major challenge is access to reliable and timely information. Inequity in access to information allows those with information to take advantage of those without it (often farmers), even though much of the information is technically within the public domain.”

He explained that ICT, such as mobile phones and the networks needed to connect them, new avenues have been opened up, offering critical information to farmers, fishers, small traders and business people.

ICT opportunities

Richardson said that over the past decade, Uganda has witnessed rapid expansion in telecommunication infrastructure and mobile technology which has enhanced the access, affordability, and adaptability of ICTs for development including agriculture.

“It is becoming imperative that farmers can access information on pricing and availability of markets with ease. Whether it is through a short message sending service or creation of virtual market platforms where buyers and sellers connect over an electronic network, the efficiency of such initiatives cannot be over stated. From the development of Apps to track health of animals, to simple platforms for payment services the opportunities are immense,” he said.

About 80% of Uganda’s the total population directly employed in agriculture, and Richardson believes that integrating technology to improve agricultural production will “contribute greatly not only to Uganda’s economic growth but it will also improve the livelihood of millions of Ugandans involved in agriculture. We believe ICT can potentially create an agricultural revolution in this country.”

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