Many small farmers in Uganda usually sell their produce at giveaway prices as middlemen often exploit them by offering low prices even when the prevailing market prices are higher.
This mainly happens because of lack of market information. However, this could soon be history, if all farmers adopt online technologies that seek to connect them to buyers.
One of such online platforms is Lusuku Online www.lusuku.ug , a fresh produce e-Market platform that gives farmers direct connection with buyers.
Lusuku, which in English means garden, seeks to empower local farmers and producers through connecting them to a vast pool of buyers they would not have accessed easily.
According to Medhi Matovu, the founder and chief executive officer Lusuku Online, digital visibility offers transparency of market prices which encourages proper planning and healthy competition that benefits both the buyers and sellers.
“Using our agile web application, we avail fresh products to customers delivered to and at their convenience at very competitive prices, for both bulk and small orders using our secure online payment option of Mobile Money or cash at delivery,”Matovu said.
He noted that majority of its clients are small-scale women farmers, given that most farmers in Uganda are women, who now concentrate on farming while Lusuku secures market for their produce.
“We told them to concentrate on the farming and we focus on getting for them market. We give them guarantee that we shall get them a ready market,” he said.
Lusuku Online is one of the FinTechs participating in the 40-days-40-FinTechs initiatives organised by HiPipo under its Include EveryOne programme, in partnership with Crosslake Tech, ModusBox and Mojaloop.
The initiative seeks to enable FinTechs to innovate solutions that facilitate cross-network financial transactions at minimal risks to enhance access to financial services.
Running for 40 days, the project will see the participating 40 FinTechs acquire interoperable development skills to improve access to financial services, using the Mojaloop open source software.
Matovu applauded HiPipo for the 40-days-40-FinTechs project, saying it is in line with their effort of deepening financial inclusion.
“We have heard about interoperability with Mojaloop and we will see how it can fit our case,” Matovu said.
The HiPipo CEO Innocent Kawooya said that the current circumstances brought by COVID-19 require that there is one functional network to ensure efficient and uninterrupted supply.
“We need an effective marketing, distribution and payment network. A platform like Lusuku is prime because it is linking farmers to a direct market. We all wish to have fresh products delivered at home from the garden; Lusuku is doing that. But importantly, it is ensuring that farmers get good earnings from their harvests,” he said.
Kawooya said that creating a solution for farmers is noble given that Uganda is an agro-based country.
“Agriculture is our backbone; it is thus important that Lusuku works on interlinks and integrations with other platforms – cards and mobile money among others. HiPipo pledges to give Lusuku unlimited publicity,” he noted.