Using ICT to Improve the Efficiency and Effectiveness of the Uganda National Agricultural Systems

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF5 Sub-theme: Livelihoods // Uganda is gifted by nature with extremely high agricultural potential and yet the agriculture sector remains weak and less competitive. Farmers in Uganda are only able to market one third of their total food production. For example, Uganda ranks the second top most in producing bananas in the world but falls at the bottom of the list in terms of sales globally. This discrepancy is interalia attributed to the weak linkage between supply and demand sides of the agriculture sector. Education, research, extension, NGOs, private sector and policy makers, who are the main actors and functionaries of the innovation system, remain detached. Predicated on this, stakeholders of the Uganda National Agricultural Innovation System (UNAIS) have come together to develop a multimedia platform that includes mobile phone and the Internet ( to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the agricultural marketing processes between smallholder producers and consumers. The platform, which includes three components, sms media, news and discussion forum, is designed using simple open source software, Joomla, to cater for the diverse interests of the stakeholders and ensure lifelong learning. The platform, launched by the President of Commonwealth of Learning at the 2007 CHOGM meeting in Kampala, Uganda, was received with overwhelming enthusiasm by farmers. // eUNAIS as well as partner-COL seeks to provide a platform for sharing with stakeholders our experiences in implementing an ICT based model to strengthen the performance of NARS including farmer access to markets. The platform will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to share relevant lessons and experiences in their NARS. It is hoped that we will come out with the answer the question –What is the best model for ensuring effectiveness and efficiency of the NARS in terms of learning and improvement of livelihoods.? // Paper ID 471