Sunday, a 32-year old migrant from Uganda-Rwanda boarder, arrived in Wakiso district a suburb of Kampala in 1995. For a decade he hopped from job to job; trying out serving in people’s households as a farm boy, to a porter on road construction before turning to farming, a childhood skill he learnt from his father – but all with little success.
According to Sunday, his father had written him off, as a failure. But in 2009, he got a break through - changing his father’s attitude about him. His horticulture and legume garden helped him succeed. Unlike previous times where he sold to middlemen, I helped him develop strategies to sell to rich households - mainly those nearby. We developed a mobile phone mailing list of the nearby household. With this list he kept sending updates about what is ready and available for consumption. As a result consumers bought his farm output fresh and cheaper directly on his farm. Many actually used m-money to pay him.
The strategy gained him U$ 1500 in profit for the season. He used this money back home to buy 5 heifers at U$ 500 and a plot of farming land at U$ 1000. He also hired an additional 2 acres of land to expand his farm to 4 acres. Imagine what m-agriculture can do from enhancing the availability of food on plate, raw materials for industries that make human needs meet to linking up the five sub-domains making the holistic agricultural knowledge domain; research, education, extension, production and marketing.
The story behind the story In May, 2008, I was in Hungary for the Global Telecentre Alliance conference. Observing along the field trip, I could see that households parked at farms, buying farm outputs directly from farmers. Reflecting over it, I thought it could be one way to enhance money mobility to rural communities as well as creating positive feedback to increase food production. Use of ICT tools could even make it possible at national and regional level. Sunday, gave me the chance to test the possibility of this transformer of innovation in my country’s experience. This story and several other motived us to design moMEALS; a mobile phone, web and telecentre integrated project that connects small scale farmers to markets and market information so as to contribute to the efforts of ending hunger and poverty - CTA is our social investor.