FRW news in brief

    | December 15, 2013

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    1- Uganda: Blending agriculture and mobile phones

    With advances in Information Communication Technologies, farmers are starting to use mobile phone applications to receive reliable market information.

    Ugandan poultry farmer, Bazilio Mugema from Nakaseke village, says that in the 28 years he has been in the business, he never thought that he needed external information on the price of eggs and chickens. Instead, he took the word of middlemen and traders.

    His son, who recently finished a diploma in veterinary studies, encouraged him to try a new SMS platform called M-Farmer. Mr. Mugema now believes that the middlemen were not being entirely honest. Instead, he swears by the SMS service which helps him receive more reliable market information on eggs, improved breeds and poultry feeds.

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    2- Rwanda: Women-dominated seed cooperative wins African agricultural prize

    A women-dominated cooperative of smallholder seed farmers has won an agriculture award.

    The cooperative, in Kamonyi district, southern Rwanda, beat 60 other contestants from across Africa to scoop the 2013 African Farmer Organization of the Year. The award, organized annually by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa and African Investment Climate Research, is given every year to a farmer group which has improved the livelihoods of the poor in Africa.

    Impabaruta cooperative produces high-quality seeds which have been used to improve maize and legume yields in Rwanda. Impabaruta was also recognized for its good governance and market-access strategy, and for the involvement of women in its work.

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    3- Kenya: Coffee farmers switch to horticulture for profit

    A former coffee farmer who became upset at low prices for her produce decided to uproot some of her trees and diversify her production.

    Hannah Wairimu turned to horticulture crops and began planting avocados trees as well as sweet potatoes, beans and maize. Ms. Wairimu joined a community group which receives support from the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, or KARI. The community group helps the smallholder farmers obtain direct access to markets.

    KARI has provided information to the 25-member group on better farming practices to increase yields, as well as how to avoid post-harvest losses. Ms. Wairimu has already seen the benefits of diversification into horticulture, and now earns more money as a result.

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