SmartInput Technology: Empowering Rwandan Farmers Through Digital Transformation

SmartInput Technology: Empowering Rwandan Farmers Through Digital Transformation

Jan. 23, 2024, 10:22 a.m.

On July 14th, 2023, the Grand Legacy Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda, buzzed with excitement as AGRIRESEARCH UNGUKA Ltd unveiled its groundbreaking SmartInput technology. This landmark event showcased how digital innovation can empower smallholder farmers, paving the way for a more productive, profitable, and sustainable agricultural future.

The launch wasn't just about presenting features; it was a vibrant tapestry woven with live demonstrations, inspiring testimonials, and insightful feedback from key stakeholders. The Grand Legacy Hotel was packed with a diverse crowd of farmers and university students, researchers, government officials, and development partners, all eager to learn more about this game-changing technology. From government officials (MINAGRI and RAB) and development partners (USAID-Feed the Future, FAO Rwanda, AGRA, Kilimo Trust, etc.) to academic institutions (University of Rwanda and IPRC) and farmer representatives, the event fostered a spirit of collaboration and collective action.

But what exactly is SmartInput technology, and why is it generating such enthusiasm? At its core, SmartInput is a mobile-based smart farming solution packed with powerful features tailored to the needs of Rwandan farmers. It provides:

· Personalized Best Practices: Based on a farmer's land size, soil type and crop, SmartInput delivers precise recommendations for optimal inputs (seeds, fertilizers and pesticides) use, maximizing yields while minimizing environmental impact.

· Record-keeping made easy: The app encourages a culture of data-driven decision-making by allowing farmers to track their activities, expenses, and harvests, promoting informed planning and better resource management.

· Connecting Farmers to Knowledge: Gone are the days of information silos. SmartInput connects farmers to a network of agricultural experts, offering real-time weather updates, access to troubleshooting guidance, and best practices to adapt to climate change.

· Shattering Language Barriers: Say goodbye to confusing labels and cryptic barcodes! SmartInput translates essential information into farmers’ local language. It supports six East African languages, including Kinyarwanda, Kiswahili, and Luganda, ensuring safe and effective application of inputs (Seeds, Fertilizers and Pesticides).

Offline Advantage: And the best part? SmartInput understands the realities of rural Rwanda. It works even without internet access, ensuring every farmer, no matter their location, can harness its power.

The launch resonated deeply with attendees, each voice weaving a thread into the rich tapestry of SmartInput's potential. Kayilisa Caritas from FAO Rwanda lauded its user-friendliness and potential for attracting young people to agriculture, while Housa Lightbourne from E4IMPACT emphasized the need for collaborations with educational institutions to equip young minds with the skills to drive agricultural innovation.

Farmers also had their voices heard. Helene Mukayuhi, a representative, highlighted the critical issue of input misuse due to lack of knowledge, urging the integration of comprehensive training within the app. Dr. Alexandre Rutikanga from UR-CAVM echoed this sentiment, praising SmartInput for tackling youth unemployment and offering them practical skills.

Perhaps the most significant takeaway was the strong commitment from MINAGRI. Their closing remarks underscored the importance of bridging the gap between research and practical applications, recognizing SmartInput as a shining example of this attitude. With the government's unwavering support and the collaborative spirit showcased at the launch, SmartInput is poised to revolutionize Rwandan agriculture, one smallholder at a time.

The SmartInput journey has just begun, but the path ahead looks bright. This innovative technology represents a beacon of hope, promising to empower farmers, boost productivity, and pave the way for a more prosperous and sustainable agricultural future for Rwanda.

Become part of the SmartInput community! Download the SmartInputapp on Google Play and embark on your journey towards a more productive, profitable, and sustainable future.

In his opening remarks, Abdu Usanase, Founder and CEO of AGRIRESEARCH UNGUKA Ltd, declared his unwavering commitment to bridging the gap between cutting-edge technology and the immediate needs of farmers, emphasizing the development and deployment of digital solutions tailor-made for their context.

Gilbert Benimana, AGRIRESEARCH UNGUKA Ltd.’s ICT director, captivated the audience with a deep dive into SmartInput's features. He then unveiled an ambitious upgrade plan, solidifying the app's position as a game-changer for Rwandan agriculture.

Beyond commending the app's innovation, Kayilisa Caritas, FAO Rwanda's National Project Manager, suggested upgrading to water-efficient irrigation and integrating young people as farmer trainers, promoting both sustainability and youth engagement

Housa Lightbourne, Country Lead, at E4IMPACT said it’s inspiring to see how this technology tackles agricultural challenges like climate change while also presenting opportunities for young people to be part of the solution.

Andrew Gashayija, Country Team leader, at Kilimo Trust Rwanda, emphasized on the need for partnerships to improve digital literacy among smallholder farmers, ensuring they can effectively utilize SmartInput and other digital tools.

Helene Mukayuhi, a Farmer Promoter, at Musanze district, Gataraga Sector highlighted a crucial issue: misuse of inputs due to lack of knowledge and the need for training her fellow farmers on using SmartInput effectively to optimize yield and income

Jean Lambert Rurangwa, Advisor to DG at Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Board, saw a path forward paved with collaboration. He emphasized the value of joint research, aligning SmartInput's strengths with RAB's priorities, unlocking a shared future of agricultural advancement.

Dr. Alexandre Rutikanga, representing the principal of UR-CAVM, commended SmartInput's accessibility and positive impact on youth, seeing it as a tool for skills development and agricultural revitalization.

Underscoring the importance of research-to-practicality, The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources’ representative, praised SmartInput's farmer-driven, actionable solutions.


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