A new TruTrade digital advisory service is supporting smallholder farmers to improve productivity and the quality of produce.
Launched in April this year, Agri-Advice provides farmers with targeted and timely SMS messages on good agricultural practices, as well as digital content on production and post-harvest handling to meet buyer specifications.
Piloted in Uganda in the rice, sesame seed and soybean value chains, in the last 3 months, Agri-Advice has sent over 16,500 messages to more than 3,750 farmers, in seven different languages. The innovative system allows TruTrade to keep in touch with farmers throughout the growing season, with each receiving an average of 4-5 messages throughout this period.
The timing of the launch, following the COVID-19 outbreak, allowed TruTrade to make the most of our IT platform to provide virtual support to farmers. “Farmers were very worried about whether there would be any buyers due to the pandemic. Our agronomical advice and market assurance has really boosted farmer confidence, and will enable them to benefit from the good harvests we are seeing” says Paul Mpagi, TruTrade Uganda Country Lead.
Agri-Advice was initiated following feedback from farmer surveys carried out in 2019, and has been well received amongst farmers.
“These messages have given me assurance in growing my soya beans, because I was worried that due to the situation, TruTrade would not buy the crop” – Ajok Sunday, farmer in Omoro.
Edward Onzima, a farmer from Moyo district, commented “I increased the size of my field, because I received a message from TruTrade saying that they are going to buy the crop.”
Over the coming harvest season, TruTrade will be capturing impact and feedback on the Agri-Advice messaging service, and will be able to make it available to other organisations. Agri-Advice works as a stand-alone service or can be integrated in the suite of TruTrade IT tools which provide transparency and traceability along the supply chain, from production to final market.
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