LUWERO —Airtel Uganda has Monday, January 24, unveiled a new initiative dubbed—Airtel Cares—putting its weight to supporting local communities, through digitizing Agriculture, Health, and Education.
The first part of Airtel Cares was made public during the unveiling of a partnership between Airtel and EzyAgric that is intended to boost Agri-Business in Uganda.
Mr. Henry Njoroge, Airtel Uganda Managing Director told reporters that the company’s partnership with EzyAgric, an Agric-Tech company is aimed at supporting farmers in embracing the use of technology through mobile phones to have access to useful information on agricultural inputs, market access, insurance options, marketing and weather information among other elements in the value chain.
“Airtel Cares is an integral part of our business under our sustainability strategy in which we are committed to supporting the reduction of barriers to social and economic empowerment of communities in which we operate”.
“We shall be making continuous investment in affordable and innovative products, solutions, and partnerships in the areas of Agriculture, Education, and Health,” Njoroge said.
He said Airtel will continue to champion the growth of Uganda’s transformative sectors, also noting that,: “we are happy to have more partners like EzyAgric who have committed to serving in this space.”
In the partnership, EzyAgric, Airtel Cares has designed customized agronomy messages that will be accessed by farmers who opt to use the versatile EzyAgric App.
The feature phone users will access the information through a USSD/IVR and SMS notifications, while Smartphone users will be able to download the EzyAgric farmer Application on their phone.
According to the 2018 Annual Agriculture Survey report by the Food Agricultural Organization and Uganda Bureau of Statistics the agricultural sector employs over 80% of the rural population and about 64.3% of the working population.
Ms. Josephine Okot, the CEO of Victoria Seeds Ltd who presided over the launch thanked Airtel and Azy Agric for the initiative.
She said farmers have for many years suffered losses because of limited information on when to plant, what to plant, where to buy inputs, and at what price.
“They have also lacked information on how to control pests and diseases, where to sell their products, and at what price. We are confident that this partnership will go a long way in bridging this gap”.
Ms. Okot urged Ugandans to use this service to transform their lives.
On his part, William Luyinda, the Chief Executive Officer EzyAgric revealed that farmers will have access to advise from a range of resources that are available through the application’s long list of extension workers within several districts who can speak English, Lugbara, Lumasaba, Runyakitara, and Luganda among the other language translations available on the EzyAgric App.
“Farmers will have access to information such as; The farm/garden mapping, Agric shop, Ezy credits, Farm manager, produce market, a Better extension which includes; crop nutrition, diary, news, videos, Financial literacy, Advisory topics for at least 15 crops in horticulture for; cereals, pulses, oilseeds, and perennial crops, Plant protection (tips on disease management & control), Seed selection management, Post-harvest handling, Weather information, among others”
All content viewed on the App will be zero-rated to a cap of 500Mbs per user, per month, thereafter, the farmer will pay for the extra Mbs while accessing the information on the app.
“All subscriptions will be handled by the USSD opt-in that requests and registers the user to create the farmer’s profile”.