Uganda’s Agriculture Data Opportunity

 
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Agriculture, Africa's backbone, lacks timely and accurate raw data inhibiting evidence-based planning and decision making at all levels across the value chain. This drastically limits the growth of commercial agriculture and development in Africa because farmers cannot confidently make informed decisions, investors cannot identify and take advantage of the lucrative opportunities to channel their capital, and the government can neither predict nor measure the effects of their policies. All stakeholders are making poor decisions with their budgeted resources.

Uganda's GDP

Uganda Agriculture Industry Analysis

  • 37% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
  • Close to 18.8 million or 77% of the Ugandan population depend on agriculture for their livelihoods and close to 50% of this is the rural population which entirely dependent on agriculture as their sole economic activity.

(U.S. Library of Congress Data, Appendix 1)

Tougher climate and commodity price conditions are making it all the more relevant for farmers to use any information they can get their hands on. In Uganda, the data gap currently present in the agriculture industry, its most densely populated industry, by far affects the most number of people, is why Dbuntu Data choose to focus on Uganda's agricultural data first.

A new way of looking at data

How BDF uses Dbuntu Data for Dairy

Beatrice Dairy Farm (BDF) - one of Uganda's first dairy farms - opened for business in 1974 by a veterinary doctor named Canon. John Batuma. Dbuntu's co-founder Brent and I spent time in Kabale during the summer of 2016 working on BDF. While there, we spent time with the dairy farmers and learned about the challenges faced. These farmers were very progressive and innovative individuals with a lot of ideas about where they see their farm going. However, they found it hard to articulate their vision, sell their story, and raise capital for development. This was a challenge we later understood was not exclusive to BDF.

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Using our knowledge of information systems and connections in the dairy industry, we developed the first (alpha) version of an electronic record keeping system we later called Data for Dairy and helped the farmers upload and analyze data on over 400 cows.

We determined that what we could do to help was to use a computer and simple spreadsheets to collected their daily transactional and operational data. In doing this, the farmers would have access to their own data in a way that would allowed them to showcase their performance and sell their ideas. Little did we know at the time, this was only the beginning.

The data we collected was used to simulate the expected outcomes of simple farming decisions. Together we gave the farm owners confidence to take massive action, leading to the successful implementation of a zero grazing facility which required a new growing and feeding program- developed based on research we had done combined with the local's knowledge of the crops and climate. Data for Dairy became how BDF was going to increase their output and provide enough nutrition to the community in Kabale.

Today, BDF is currently living the success of its new zero grazing facility that has increased the farms milk production by 36% since October 2016, and there's a lot more to come. This was only the beginning of a strong relationship founded on trust and humanity. With Dbuntu Data for Dairy, BDF continues to empower and impact the communities and economies of Kabale, even more than it has for the past half-century.

Weekly Milk Production (Ltrs)

36% Increase in Milk Production in October 2016 due to Dbuntu's integration with BDF, and successful Zero Grazing + Feeding Program Established.