Market information systems
One of the largest challenges traditionally experienced by Africa smallholder farmers has been a lack of transparent information about the market prices of crops. A number of new mobile phone-based services is, however, addressing this problem by giving farmers access to market prices, enabling them to negotiate better deals with traders and improve the timing of getting their crops to market. These services typically include a function where famers can send a SMS text message to a specific number which then gives them wholesale and retail prices of crops.
E-Oilseed Mobile-based market information systems have been around for a while. According to a document published by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), some of the first services were launched as early as 2002. The success of these earlier services has, however, been haphazard, largely because of lower mobile penetration rates at that stage as well as a lack of a viable business plans behind many of the projects. A lot of the projects are donor funded and they haven got a viable business model on the other end. Once the funding runs out the ability to sustain the project or . . . application disappears, says Ray Agong, CEO UOSPA, (Uganda oil Seed Producer and Association), an organization also involved in developing mobile applications for farmers.
The explosion of mobile phones on the African continent and much reduced data costs, has led to the development of improved products for farmers. In addition to providing access to market prices, farmers and traders can also place buy/sell orders. As a CEO I believe this doesnot need to be about aid in the sense we know it now. Here as a local company building an innovative product to meet a local need and selling it in a profitable way. Thathow I want to see Ugandans develop its own markets and capacities, and that is why I decided to support E-Oilseed.
Our applications go beyond merely providing farmers with market information. also allows farmers to group together through their mobile phones to offer exporters and big retailers large quantities of crops. Farmers connected through E-Oilseed can also save on the cost of inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides by buying in bulk. This mobile technology will also connect Uospa farmers with useful information about improving farming practices, farm safety, crop disease prevention, post-harvest production and crop marketing. Through voice and SMS messages delivered in their local language or English, Uospa farmers will receive the information at no charge. They also will be able to share information and receive answers to specific questions relating to their Uospa farming livelihoods. It will also enables smallholder farmers in Uganda to insure their agricultural inputs against adverse weather conditions, such as drought or too much rain(flood).
How UOSPA SMS App works.
SMS based two-way query answering system(Ask our Experts through mobile)
Using the mobile phone, farmers can posts their questions or queries to the UOSPA experts team and seek their advice on effective practices in agriculture,. An auto response message will be sent immediately to the concerned farmer to acknowledge that the query has been received. The experts/ agricultural scientists will answer to these queries at the best possible time and it will be delivered to the farmers through sms. Presently this service will be available only to the registered farmers. There will be only normal SMS charges to the farmers to use this service.
FORMAT FOR SENDING THE QUERIES/ QUESTIONS UOSPA<SPACE> YOUR QUESTION TO OUR CODE 7070
UOSPA SMS App works such way that you type UOSPA <space> key word like PLANTSEED
SPACING, MATURITY, MARKETING, YIELDCARE,VARIETY,MATURITY and get instant feedback in form of messages.
UOSPAspacing simsim and send to our code 7070
UOSPAmarketing simsim and send to our code 7070
Example2 : UOSPA WHAT CAN WE DO WHEN THE PEST AFFECT OUR SUN FLOWER and sent to 7070
Message Output : Pests on sun flower plants can be controlled by 4% leaf extracts of neem / thevetia / clerodendron with soap water. they can be protected from infestation by fruit borers by spraying 4% leaf extracts of thevetia / neem. Preparation of plant extract emulsion is as follows. Soak 400 g of leaf powder (leaves dried under shade and powdered) in one litre of water for 24 hours and filter though muslin cloth. Dissolve 400 g of ordinary bar soap shavings in 9 litres of water. Pour this soap solution to the plant extract and mix thoroughly. This forms 4% emulsion of plant extract.