With the advent of digitization, the world continues to witness a paradigm shift to a future powered by technology, and Africa isn’t left out. One of these innovative changes is the use of technology to transform agriculture across the continent, an idea that has birth a renewed interest in Africa’s agricultural sector.
A London-based digital solutions firm, Aspiring Panda has developed the innovative Awega CDMS Platform to help change the lives of local farmers and families in Uganda. The idea which was launched as the Agritech Innovation Summit beckons in October will drive inclusive participation by all members of local communities to improve their livelihoods.
Founded in 1995 by two innovative siblings, Manjeet Panesar and Jas Panesar who are vast in the industry, Aspiring Panda is currently run by brother and sister duo. From humble beginnings, Jas and Manjeet have built Aspiring Panda to become a reliable and innovation first company supporting FTSE 100 companies as well as ambitious, growing businesses around the world.
The Community Development Management System (CDMS) is part of a pilot program in conjunction with Local District leadership in Uganda to transform their economy and address poverty within rural farming communities. It will also facilitate the fulfilment of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and Uganda’s vision 2040 objectives.
Agriculture has played a major role in the life of men providing food which is one of its basic needs. But the advent of white collar jobs and industrialization birthed a troubled period for farmers especially in Africa largely caused by low productivity. Yet, they have managed to grow crops, however, new startups and technology infusion has breathed a new life in the agricultural sector in Africa.
In recent times, agritech startups have witness unprecedented success in the continent luring investors to pump huge cash into the sector in the last few years. This has ultimately helped African agritech sector grown by 110% since 2016. Apparently, agriculture continues to be a dominant industry not only in Africa but globally.
Agriculture is often seen as a low tech industry despite being the most lucrative in developing economies. Aspiring Panda hopes to challenge this misconception and change outdated mindsets about farming. Whilst the West are well versed in the growing agritech sector, Ugandan farmers lack access to agricultural technology and typically view agriculture as a ‘peasants’ profession.
Nonetheless, through its secondary platform, The Awega Marketplace, Awega CDMS will help local farmers gain access to local and international markets. This means that farmers can benefit from higher profit margins that are traditionally cut by middlemen. As a result, farmers have access to sustainable livelihoods and are less dependent on foreign aid.
The Awega CDMS platform uses community data to offer optimised workflows for efficient farming of the region’s products such as avocado, tea and coffee. Ultimately, the goal is to reduce poverty and improve livelihoods. By employing more effective supply chain traceability, the platform can track and trace the journey of all farmed produce from seed to table.
Whilst agriculture is still the biggest employment sector for rural communities, agritech is an industry still in its infancy in Africa. With technology infiltrating all major industries on the continent, agriculture remains a key area that is ripe for opportunity when it comes to addressing the poverty epidemic.