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  • Laurine Musoki

KilimoMart launches a warehouse in Kampala

Access to the agriculture market is still a challenge for most small-scale farmers, especially women in rural areas. This exposes them to exploitation, hence little earnings, which keep most small-scale farmers in poverty. To address this challenge, small-scale farmers explored the possibility of using online technology in accessing markets and information, which would also expose small-scale farmers to the opportunity brought by the East African Community (EAC) Common market that allows the free movement of goods and services. With financial support from GIZ through the IIDEA program, ESAFF Uganda partnered with KESSFF to develop the KilimoMart Application, an online market for organic products produced by small-scale farmers in the East African region.

Since its launch in May 2020, KilimoMart Application faced two significant problems, the transportation problem and storage in Kenya and Uganda. This always led to a delay in delivering orders to clients, hence affecting some willing customers' decisions. To that effect, on 26th February 2021, ESAFF Uganda launched the Market Warehouse and a motorcycle that would support the delivery of products to customers in Kampala and the nearby places. The objective is to reduce the waiting time for clients to enable Kampala consumers to enjoy their orders in less than two hours. The warehouse is set up with packing materials and machines, measure machines and clearing room with an automatic receipt system. The launch that took place in Ntinda, Kampala, was graced by small-scale farmers’ leaders from different regions of Uganda.

ESAFF Uganda has also made an upgrade on the KilimoMart Application website, ensuring that small-scale farmers continue to access market opportunities and information, including market, weather, EAC laws, and policies. The platform also provides services like extension, agricultural inputs, marketing and transport services.

The KilimoMart Application has played a significant role in improving small-scale farmers' knowledge in using ICT in accessing online markets in the EAC region. Paul Kabwama from Mukono district, Uganda, on of the small-scale farmers using the KilimoMart Application to market his products said; “consumers were not buying my organic products because they are expensive or even when sold they would buy them cheaply because people don’t know the difference between organic products and inorganic products, but because of the KilmoMart Application, my organic products are being sold at the premium prices.” With this new development, small-scale farmers will enjoy better opportunities and high earnings in Uganda since the hinderance has been addressed.

The Chairperson ESAFF Uganda, Mr Hakim Baliraine, noted that with the development of a warehouse and improving products' delivery time to consumers, small-scale farmers would enjoy the increase in their products' orders since it’s predicted that there will be an increase in the number of customers. He further noted that ESAFF Uganda, in partnership with KESSFF, will open a warehouse in Kenya and in the future in all the EAC cities.

Ms Nancy Mugimba, the National Coordinator of ESAFF Uganda, the parent owner of the KilimoMart Application, appreciated the GIZ IIDEA program for supporting the equipping of the warehouse and promoting small-scale farmers’ access to the EAC regional market.

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