Farmers in Kiboga District have come out to appreciate Sasakawa Africa Association Uganda (SAA- Uganda) for the E-extension on-line program that has boosted their production levels during the COVID-19 Lockdown period.
In August 2020, Sasakawa a nongovernmental organisation launched COVID 19 interventions to support extension service providers across the country in an effort to reach Farmers and increase production during the Pandemic production season.
According to Oliva Nabiryo a Programmes Coordinator at Sasakawa, research indicated that many farmers were not producing normally during the COVID-19 lockdown because they were not receiving both extension advisory services and the much needed inputs which prompted Sasakawa to come up with an online program to offer the much needed support.
Nabiryo said that there was lack of access to the inputs since a number of input shops had closed and because of limited transportation, farmers would not be able to go out and buy the inputs they wanted for their gardens.
Nabiryo added that the lockdown as well affected the extension farmers who could not provide the much needed advisory services to the farmers.
“One of the interventions we came up with is the provision of e-extension whereby farmers can access advisory services and access inputs using their mobile phones. We got farmer leaders and extension workers, trained them on the use of the platform, distributed phones to them and they downloaded the application, Nabiryo said.
As a follow on the initiative, farmers in Kiboga district revealed that they have been able to use their ordinary phones to be able to ask questions to the extension workers and they have been able to get clear responses in real time.
Dishan Odera Erifazi a Community facilitator and zonal leader Rwamata subcounty noted that through the initiative by Sasakawa,the farmers were able to receive all the necessary advise and were able to plant accordingly.
As part of the e-extension initiative, Sasakawa partnered with Ezy-agric which helps in a way that the community association traders who have been trained and are doing stocking of agricultural inputs are able to buy inputs by making orders on-line.
Joseph Sewakiryanga owner of Jose Agro Farmers Centre in Bukomero sub-county said that through Ezy-agric, he has been able to save on transport of going to town to pick the inputs by simply makings online and the inputs are delivered on time.
“I no longer have to close my shop to go get the inputs, this has also enabled me reduce on the price of the inputs as I sell to the farmers since the cost of purchasing is reduced. I used to find it hard getting good quality inputs, but when I order through Ezy-agric, I am assured of quality inputs, Sewakiryanga noted.
Nabiryo added that Sasakawa has also been training farmers on value addition and as such, farmers in their smaller groups are acquiring smaller machines that help them to add value on their groups so that they increase on their earnings.