Launch of the e-voucher system of the Agriculture Cluster Development Project

November 09 2018, Kalungu District The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries has launched a mobile-based system that will be used by farmers to purchase critical farm in-puts.

The system which is known as the “e-voucher system” was developed under the Agriculture Cluster Development Project (ACDP) which is a 6-year partnership project supported by the World Bank.

Using the e-voucher system, farmers across Uganda will be able to purchase fertilisers, agro-chemicals, seeds and equipment for post-harvest handling and processing from agro-input dealers with support from Government.

Above: Members of the ACDP Coordination team and Steering Committee who participated in a preparatory meeting that was held in Masaka on the 8th of November 2018 and chaired by Mr. Pius Wakabi Kasajja the Permanent Secretary who was accompanied by Ms. Beatrice Byarugaba the Acting Director for Crop Resources. The main objective of the meeting was to assess progress of ACDP implementation and the launch of the e-voucher system.

“The system is designed to enable farmers who we have registered to only purchase inputs from certified agro-input dealers. This is one of the ways of fighting the distribution of fake agro-inputs,” says Pius Wakabi Kasajja the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary.

According to Henry Nakelet Opolot the Coordinator of the Agriculture Cluster Development Project, the system will also enable government to channel financial support to the farmers for purchase of inputs.

“When a registered farmer loads money on their account, Government will also top up for them through the matching grant scheme. For instance, in one of the matching grant options, government will invest 67% for the farmer for the purchase of inputs for the first season. In the season that follows, Government will contribute 50% and 33% in the season after that. By the fourth season, the farmer is expected to have a self-sustaining agro-enterprise and therefore no need for government support,” Nakelet says.

The Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Mr Pius Wakabi says that, unlike the distribution of free inputs, the use of the e-voucher system will enable farmers to handle the inputs well and use them for the intended purpose since they have a financial commitment attached.

“This system gives the farmers ownership and responsibility for the inputs that they purchase. Here, they can see some value for money invested,” Wakabi says.

To address the challenge of limited know-how in using ICT-based systems, the Ministry partnered with the United Bank of Africa (UBA) to train farmers in both basic use of ICT and the e-voucher system.

The Ministry also partnered with Life Mobile, a Uganda-based company that assembles mobile phones to ensure that farmers can also get affordable mobile phones that can be used to get access to the e-voucher system.

The design of the e-voucher system was done with technical support from the National Information Technology Authority of Uganda (NITA-U).

At the launch of the e-voucher system in Lukaya sub-county, Kalungu District, Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Sempijja the Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries called upon farmers, agro-input dealers and all other stakeholders to adopt the new, highly-effective technologies, noting that the Ministry will remain committed to delivering successful implementation of the e-voucher system and ACDP as a project.

Hon. Sempijja also reassured the farmers of further support from the Agricultural Extension Officers, who according to Ms Beatrice Byarugaba the Director for Agricultural Extension Services will continue to support technology transfer in the districts and sub-counties.

Above: Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Sempijja the Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries  addressing participants at the launch of the e-voucher system at Bulakati Grounds in Lukaya sub-county.

 

 

The official launch of the e-voucher system was marked by the handover of inputs to the first farmer to be registered on the system and five motor vehicles to the 5 districts where the system is to be piloted.

The five districts include Kalungu, Nebbi, Amuru, Ntungamo and Iganga.

While speaking at the launch, Hon. Christopher Kibanzanga the State Minister for Agriculture pointed out the e-voucher system as one of the major steps that government has taken to date to modernise agriculture.

The launch was also attended by Members of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries and the Parliamentary Committee for National Economy.

Notes for editors

Below are additional details for editors.

About the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF)

The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries is a Ministry in the Government of Uganda charged with creating an enabling environment in the Agricultural Sector.

The Ministry formulates, reviews and implement national policies, plans, strategies, regulations and standards and enforce laws, regulations and standards along the value chain of crops, livestock and fisheries.

Vision: A competitive, profitable and sustainable agricultural sector.

Mission: To transform subsistence farming to commercial agriculture.

See strategic objectives here.

See Agriculture Sector Strategic Plan here.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) is made up of four Directorates including the Directorate of Crop Resources, Directorate of Animal Resources, Directorate of Agricultural Extension Services and the Directorate of Fisheries Resources each with Departments, Divisions and Partnership Projects.

The Departments of the Ministry which do not fall directly in the above include the Department of Agricultural Planning and Development, the Human Resource Department, the Department of Finance and Administration and the Department of Agricultural Infrastructure, Mechanisation and Water for Agricultural Production.

The Ministry is also made up of seven Agencies including the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO), the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), Cotton Development Organisation (CDO), Dairy Development Authority (DDA), Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) and Coordinating Office for the Control of Trypanosomiasis in Uganda (COCTU) and the National Animal Genetic Resources Centre and Databank (NAGRC&DB).

About the Agriculture Cluster Development Project (ACDP)

The Agriculture Cluster Development Project is a 6-year partnership project under the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries supported by the World Bank.

The project was fully-instituted in the Ministry on the 23rd of January 2017 with an overall objective “To raise on-farm productivity, production, and marketable volumes of selected agricultural commodities in specified geographical clusters.”

This came after the approval by the Parliament of Uganda on the 15th of September 2016 that followed the signing of the financing agreement on the 26th of September 2016.

The commodities that were selected are five and include Coffee, Rice, Beans, Cassava and Maize.

The project was designed along the following components as channels for achieving increased production and productivity of the 5 priority crops in 42 districts in Uganda.

The first component is “Support for Intensification of On-Farm Production”

the second is “Value Addition and Market Access” the third is “Policy, Regulatory and Institutional Support” and

Component number four is “Coordination, Management and ICT Platforms.”

The beneficiaries include 450,000 famers that are drawn from approximately 300 Area-based Commodity Cooperative Enterprises representing about 3,000 Rural Producer Organizations.

While the total investment by the World Bank in ACDP is 150 million US Dollars, the total contribution from the Government of Uganda through the Matching Grant Scheme and the farmers through purchase of the agro-inputs is 28 million US Dollars and 70 million US Dollars respectively.

This contribution by the three main stakeholders is in 42 districts that are also classified in 12 clusters depending on the 5 priority crops.

The implementation of this project is done through inter-ministerial collaboration with the Ministry of Trade Industry and Cooperatives, the Ministry of Works and Transport, the Ministry of Water and Environment, the Ministry of Local Government, the Ministry of ICT, the Finance Ministry and the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development. These are represented on the Inter-ministerial Project Steering Committee.