Winners of the first Disruptive Agricultural Technology (DAT) Challenge in Uganda were announced at a conference held at Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala. The challenge was jointly organised by the World Bank and the ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries.
It was organized to seek the best innovative technologies aimed at improving farmers’ productivity and efficiency.
DATs are defined as digital innovations that enable farmers and agribusinesses to leapfrog to increase their productivity, efficiency, and competitiveness, facilitate access to markets, improve nutritional outcomes and enhance resilience to climate change.
These technologies range from mobile apps to digital identities for farmers to solar applications for agriculture to portable agriculture devices to bio-fortified foods.
The Challenge winners and first batch of Preferred Vendors were named as M-Cash (Uganda) Limited for its financial inclusion package; M-Omulimisa for best advisory on productivity; AkelloBanker for market linkages and Data Care Uganda for provision of data analytics.
- M-Cash offers an integrated e-commerce platform enabling farmers to purchase high quality authentic inputs. Farmers make orders using USSD or mobile app. Farmers collect inputs from the nearest M-Cash agent touch-point.
- M-Omulimisa has a mobile and web-based platform that enables farmers to exchange information with extension officers in their local languages for free.
- Using the mobile based AkelloBanker, smallholder farmers can order for farm inputs and implements.
- Data Care is an Information Technology (IT) Consultancy firm that provides solutions in software development, data management, customized trainings, business process re-engineering, technology strategies and system audits.
The four emerged out of over 80 applications and also had to go through a one-day Bootcamp at the Innovation Village.
Outcomes of the DAT Challenge
Uganda is the second largest host of DATs in East Africa after Kenya. Investors have largely focused on Kenya, which received 64% of the funding, followed by Uganda (26%), Tanzania (6%) and Rwanda (3%).
DATs can make smallholders and especially marginalized farmers more competitive by leveling the playing field.
Even in poorly-connected rural contexts, or with marginalized groups who have lower access to information and markets, sophisticated off-line digital agricultural technologies can provide opportunities to help poor and even illiterate farmers.