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Data and drones in Uganda: CTA's new agribusiness project

Analysis

Digitalisation

An exciting new pilot project has been launched by CTA with Ugandan partners, the National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises (NUCAFE) and IGARA Tea, for setting up and populating GIS and databases within their management information systems to improve membership transparency and accountability and product traceability.

Founded in 1995, NUCAFE is an umbrella organisation for 198 coffee associations with over 350,000 coffee farming families. IGARA Tea is based in south-western Uganda and has around 7,000 farmer members. For both organisations, as elsewhere in Uganda and Africa, keeping track of farmer members can be a challenge; such organisations work on the basis that inputs are supplied to farmers on credit which is redeemed when the product is sold back to them. However, it is common for farmers to sell rather than use their inputs, or to sell their product elsewhere. Whilst farmers can be de-registered, other family members may sign up and the challenge remains.

To help address these issues and improve the organisations' management information systems, CTA is supporting the use of GIS for geo-referencing farms and the use of questionnaires to profile around 3,200 NUCAFE and IGARA Tea farms. Databases will then be developed with a spatial dimension so that the organisations can not only monitor members but also generate maps.

The pilot project, which will run until end of December 2017, will also include the experimental use of drones by NUCAFE which has expressed an interest in obtaining a geo-referenced inventory of coffee plantations and a census of coffee plants per farm in order to be in the position to generate a comprehensive and detailed farm profile which in turn could be used by individual farmers to apply for loans, more successfully.

CTA's technical partner in the project is ESIPPS (Environmental Surveys, Information, Planning and Policy Systems), a private Ugandan company, which received training from CTA in March 2017. ESIPPS will be responsible for delivering training in GIS, database management and in developing the questionnaires to obtain the farm profiles.

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