As refugees start to farm and produce crops they need knowledge/information on improved farming methods, access to quality agricultural inputs and access to markets for their produce. Some refugees who had different livelihood activities like teaching, medical practice, whilst still in South Sudan are venturing into agriculture with need for these informational and linkages services. Refugees who have received additional plots of land for cultivation will be exploring ways to market and sell their produce such as cotton to buyers. Uganda still faces a challenge of counterfeit agricultural inputs, with refugees vulnerable to falling prey to unscrupulous traders dealing in such inputs.
There are already various sources of agriculture related information and tips (extension services) e.g:
- A database showing types of seeds purchased by different refugees
- FAO, Ministry of Agriculture, web sites with recommended farming practices
- Weather info from the Uganda National Meteorology Authority
- specialized database on quality qualified input dealers in Uganda available here -- http://agricinputsuganda.com/
- Information could also be shared from peer to peer
There are known channels through which specific crops get to market or get exposed to potential buyers. Sources of market information from potential buyers exist and linkages to these sources can be done.
Challenge: How can we increase and simplify access to information (agricultural extension services) to enhance productivity. How can we enhance the interconnectedness of the refugee community with the market place?
How can we provide the refugee community with a one stop platform that is easily accessible for them to gain information and linkages?
How might we link the refugee community to the outside market for both customers and suppliers of products and services needed by both parties?
How can we develop a ‘SMART (agriculture) warehouse’ that will digitalize the process of refugees bulking produce in cooperatives to leverage their collective volume, value addition and bargaining power?
- Individual farmers through to cooperatives
- Financial services (pricing, comparison, trading, price trends etc.)
- Local & international market and distribution
- collaboration with government and subsidiary management
- food production forecast and production tracking
- agriculture learning & research