Ugandan smallholder farmers will benefit from Microsoft’s new program that seeks to avail digital tools and training resources to small-scale farmers and agriculture-linked small businesses in Uganda, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Kenya.
The program which is being run in a partnership between Microsoft 4Afrika scheme and the IFC—a member of the World Bank Group— was launched in Nairobi on August 3rd and is aimed at supporting digital transformation in Africa’s agribusiness sector. It also seeks to modernize supply chains as well as boost farmers’ productivity and incomes.
Who benefits from the Microsoft 4Afrika scheme?
The initiative which will be targeting at least 50,000 farmers and 50 cooperatives in the four countries is informed by the fact that digital technology has the potential to improve the operation of key supply chains in the food system through nurturing better agricultural efficiencies and business practices, traceability, food safety and, access to finance.
But, the use of digital tools in Africa’s agriculture sector remains limited, often because of infrastructure, affordability, awareness, and regulatory issues. Research shows that agribusiness contributes just about 25% of Africa’s GDP and 70% of its employment.
The partnership will leverage the available Microsoft 4Afrika digital platforms and IFC’s Agribusiness Leadership Programme to help small-scale farmers, their cooperatives, and “last mile retailers” access information and digital tools to strengthen farming practices, build business professionalism and improve food security and traceability throughout the supply chain.
The partnership will deploy Microsoft’s KuzaBot mobile chat platform to speed up and ease the dissemination of vital information to farmers on good agricultural and business practices.
The IFC’s Agribusiness Leadership Programme will also be uploaded on the Microsoft Community Training platform to help small businesses, aggregators, and farmer cooperatives improve their professionalism, productivity, and creditworthiness.
Over the long term, the partnership aims to deepen the understanding of factors that drive the adoption and use of digital solutions among smallholder farmers, farmer cooperatives, and other actors in the agriculture supply chain.
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