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Marcci Farmers Design Thinking Workshop

Background;

MaRCCI originated through an initiative by RUFORUM (Regional Universities Forum for Agricultural Capacity Development) in 2008 to establish regional hubs to provide high quality training in plant breeding as a response to the needs identified through wide stakeholder consultation. Establishment of MaRCCI received major support from the Government of Uganda and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).  Visit the website: – https://rcci.mak.ac.ug/

Project Design Thinking;

Makerere University Regional Center for Crop Improvement (Marcci) in partnership with Eight Technologies Consults Ltd (8Tech) is developing a technology that will help to improve productivity of farm crops in Uganda with support from Research Innovation Fund(RIF). Therefore the teams conducted a design thinking workshop on 11th November 2021. The workshop was focusing on understanding the farmer needs, the production protocol and the business processes. The selected crops for the study are sorghum and cowpeas. The objectives of the discussion were centered on:-

  1. Understanding the requirements of the digital Agribusiness ecosystem.
  2. Designing the digital system to be used by farmers (Mobile App & Web system).
  3. Establishing the digital platform business processes and model.  

The research design discussion session in progress

To improve the high quality of the different seed varieties requires that farmers follow a production protocol throughout the value chain. The production guide is a set of instructions of what a farmer is expected to do while dealing with a particular crop. Right from pre-production, production and post production.


The CEO 8Tech Prof Jude Lubega, CTO 8Tech Dr. Drake P. Miremebe, Director MaRCCI Dr. Richard Edema and Research Leader, Legume Breeder Dr. Isaac Dramadri. Reviewing some of the different cowpeas varieties

Seed storage helps to preserve seed for a long period of time yet maintaining the quality, the seeds can be planted after 10 years of storage and still grow as expected.

8Tech as a development partner knows that to improve crop productivity will require to understand the different activities along the value chain, seed testing is one of them, hence the team at 8tech, with lead from the Director Marcci, CEO 8Tech and CTO 8Tech having a tour at the BIO Tec Lab.

Training and recruitment of farmers for the usage of the ICT4Farmers System

On 7th August and 8th August, a team of two from 8tech consults limited headed to Kyarusozi sub-county Kyenjonjo district to train farmers and recruit people for the usage of the ICT4Agric innovation. The main goal of this training was to train smallholder farmers in kyarusozi sub-county kyenjonjo district with the intended outcome of skilling of small-holder farmers on ICT adaptation, service delivery, content, and digital skills.

In the training, Farmers were introduced to ICT4Agric innovations, the team encouraged and mobilized for formulation and establishment of a united farmer group/organization for easier resource mobilization. The trainers also introduced the UNFFE ICT4FARMERS system and mobile application and farmers were encouraged to use the innovations in their farming practices. Farmers were also encouraged to use the toll-free call center so as to always be possible to seek to advise regarding their farming practices.

Dr. Drake Mirembe addressing the farmers

Below are the key outputs of the training;

  1. Farmers were mobilized and their contacts were registered.
  2. Successful training on the usage of the farmer’s toll-free line.
  3. Successful mobilization and sensitization for establishment of a united farmer’s union in the area.
  4. Successful training on the farmers discovering the potential income generating value chains.
  5. Successful training of digital inclusion in the areas small holder farmers in the sub county.
  6. Successful training finding market using the ICT4Agric Innovations

Lessons learnt

  1. There is need for establishment a united farmer’s union in the sub-county.
  2. There is much willingness for the farmers to adapt the use of ICT4Agric innovation.
  3. The farmers have potential to produce but are just challenged by limited markets.

Seed Tracking and Tracing system training and Validation.

The Eight Tech Team led by Dr.Drake Mirembe the Chief Technology Officer executed the training and validation at Kawanda Agriculture Research Institute today.This was done in partnership with Integrated Seed Sector Development Uganda (ISSD) and Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fishery (MAAIF).

The seed tracking and tracing system is designed in a way that seeds can be tracked (following the seed production sequence from the breeder’s fields through to certified/quality declared (QDS) seed; up to sales) and traced (following a seed sale backward sequence from certified/quality declared (QDS) seed back to Breeders’ seed production lots and fields). All this in order have a clear accountability of its quality. The National Seed Strategy (MAAIF 2016) emphasizes the development of an Integrated Seed Sector Management Information System (ISSMIS) which deems it necessary to have a digital tool in place to do this.

The team that attended was equipped with skills on how they can maneuver around the two major components that is to say the Mobile app and the Dashboard. Right from a seed farmer registering his seed , to when it goes through the verification of the quality of the seed before handing it to the farmer and flagging it as ready to be planted and sold for the merchants.

Dr Drake Mirembe during his presentation.

For any further information or inquires kindly reach out to info@8technologies.net or visit our website www.8technologies.net.

Launch of the Viazi Vitamu System.

The ICOPSEA consortium together with Eight Tech Consults Ltd developed an ICT platform comprising of the Viazi Vitamu System, web portal and mobile application for sweet potato growers in the East African region. It was mainly setup to help the farmers with monitoring production, inspection and marketing of quality planting materials.

On the 18th March,2021 the ICOPSEA team together with the partners who included Eight Tech Consults Ltd, Bio-Innovate Africa, Senai Bio-Science Laboratories, Harvest Plus, Jomo-Kenyatta University of Agriculture and technology, Makerere University , Tari and Rab launched the Viazi Vitamu System at Imperial Royale, Kampala.

We are delighted to have been part of the launch of the Viazi Vitamu System and application which will make a sweet potato farmers life easier by enabling them buy quality vines and roots that have been grown by experts in the field, enabling them register to become certified sweet potato growers and sharing the problems they are facing amongst others.

You can access the system and download the application using the links below respectively:

https://dashboard.sweetpotatoeseastafrica.org/

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=icopsea.sweetpotatoeseastafrica.viazi

Report Launch on the State of Digital Rights and Governance in Uganda.

Information Communication Technologies like the Internet and Social media, have proliferated all aspects of human life; from education, health, business to entertainment. Given the unique position of ICTs in the current knowledge-based society, internet has become a pivotal tool in the enjoyment of human rights.

According to the report, Uganda’s Internet usage has grown in recent years with over 10 million users providing a new digital landscape that facilitates the work of human rights defenders, activists, journalists, minority groups and citizens providing grounds for safer interactions or activism in Uganda.

Unwanted Witness together with Eight Tech Consults undertook a research to explore the current state and development of digital rights and internet governance in Uganda focusing on the state’s obligation and responsibility under International law observing the fulfilled mandates in national legislation, practice, and Underscores through a comprehensive literature review which formed a baseline for the field research.

Key Objectives and Digital rights focus included;

1. To explore the loopholes within the National Legal and Policy Framework.

2. Establish the level of awareness of internet governance and digital rights in Uganda.

3. Establish lessons from selected countries that is to say Kenya, Ghana and Estonia.

We are pleased to announce the launch of the report that took place on Friday 12th March,2021, spear headed by the Unwanted Witness Team together with the research team from Eight Tech consults Ltd in partnership with Digital Human Rights Lab, Future Challenges, Better Place Lab with support from German Cooperation and GIZ at Hotel Africana.

We undertake research in both basic and applied research services for all organisations in the areas of: Health, education, agriculture, Information and communication technology, business and so many others. You can reach out to us on +256 414-666-784 or visit our website https://8technologies.net/

The need for integration of ICT for Persons With Disabilities

PWDs are defined as people bearing long term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others. Persons with disabilities are deserving of the same rights and basic needs as others although when faced with challenges it is quite harder on their side. PWDS usually face various forms of discrimination in society on a basis of disability and digital exclusion being one of them.

According to the World Health Organisation, about 15% of the global population live with some form of disabilities and the number keeps growing year after year. With this growing number of PWDS and the growing technological and digital standards in the world, PWDS need to be fully included in the new digital era which is currently not the case. Innovations need to be put in place that also fully include PWDS.

In order to fully include PWDS in the new digital era organisations and institutions need to;

a) Fully embrace disability inclusion at every level of the organisation

b) Understand how to reach and better serve persons with disabilities

c) Deliver inclusive products and services that meet the varied needs of Persons with Disabilities.

It is from this background that 8tech came to a partnership with the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda to work together towards enhancing digital inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Uganda.

The overall objective of the partnership is to promote digital inclusiveness for Persons with Disabilities through the use of ICT enabled Technologies.

Specific objectives were also defined as below;

  1. To conduct evaluation studies and research to identify the needs of Persons with disabilities and how they can be addressed with the help
  2. To develop content to aid digital skilling of Persons with Disabilities.
  3. To facilitate Hackathons, seminars and innovation challenges to encourage development of solutions for PWDS.
  4. To design an information management system (IMS) to address challenges of lack of information about people with disabilities across the country.

This partnership shall also involve the following key result areas;

  • Research and Knowledge Management
  • Digital Platforms for Persons with Disabilities
  • Innovations for PWDS
  • Content Development, Delivery and digital skilling

The main and first area of focus is Research and knowledge management and research is ongoing under the topic; Digital Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities.

Launch of the ICT4Farmers programme

Agriculture has been the backbone of Africa from our our great grand fathers generations and as the world changes we have noticed a growing change in the diversity through the use of ICT by the general population. therefore there was a need to enhance the adoption of ICTs, improve the content and digital skills for smallholder farmers in Uganda such as to mu h with the increased use of ICTs.

as the technology experts we were contracted under the collaboration of UNFFE and Eight tech to undertake the 3year program that will be focused on the use of ICT’s in agriculture, digital skilling, capacity building, farmer mobilisation among.

We are pleased to announce that the programme was officially launched this Wednesday 25th November 2020 in a function that was spear headed by the Executive Director (UCC) Eng. Irene Kaggwa Sewankambo and other delegates, together with the Eight tech and UNFFE team.

For more details about the project and launch activities please visit https://uccinfo.blog/2020/11/25/ict-for-agriculture-programme-launched-to-enhance-ict-adoption-service-delivery-content-and-digital-skills-for-smallholder-farmers/

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