Through a digital, mobile-enabled “Buy from Women” platform, farmers can now know the exact size of their land and forecast their production. The platform connects smallholder farmers to the agricultural supply and value chain and provides them with critical information on weather, market prices, and incoming opportunities via text messages.
As part of the One UN in Rwanda and in partnership with WFP`s Patient Procurement Platform (PPP), UN Women launched this innovative platform in June 2016. It will be implemented in ten cooperatives over the next nine months. 699 women from have already registered from two farming cooperatives in Gatsibo District and one in Muhanga District.
The platform improves farmers’ capacity to produce marketable surplus, provides real time financial information and increases their market access, especially for women farmers, who were traditionally not involved in all parts of the value chain. “We used to sign contracts with buyers and not be able to meet its terms, especially related to supplies, because farmers would sell part of their produce on the side. Now with this system, everyone will know in advance the quantity of produce that he or she is required to bring at the Cooperative, and this will motivate everyone to meet the requirement and aim to produce surplus,” explains Beatrice Mukanoheli, a member of the Tuzamurane Cyeza Cooperative.
The programme, currently in its pilot phase, has received financial support from the Government of China. Visiting the programme site, Ambassador of China, Mr. Pan Hejun said, “China is committed to providing technical support to Rwanda, especially in relation to technology development in agriculture. Agriculture is an important sector to the Chinese economy as it is in Rwanda.”
By focusing on women’s empowerment, the programme is also educating farmers on gender equality issues, with the aim of bridging the gender gap in agriculture and ensuring women’s equal participation in all areas of the value chain, including in the front line negotiations and decision-making.