FICOM, the Farmers Information Communication project in Uganda is helping farmers access information on market prices and activity.
Important tips on growing crops are relayed from the Uganda National Farmers Federation headquarters to district level offices, and then to 24 ‘village phone centres’, in which each farmers’ group owns a mobile phone.
The farmers also send and receive SMS messages with updates on market prices, saving at times a whole day’s travel to market with help from the program, which is sponsored by the Syngenta Foundation.
For example, Milly Sekandi is a member of Zibula Atudde Women’s Group. After she purchased a village phone, she and other farmers who grow upland rice and maize are now able to confirm prices in Kampala and the border trading markets in Busia, Kenya. A few years ago it would have been the middlemen who dictated the price and made the most profit from sales.