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The Farm Connect platform allows stakeholders in the agribusiness value chain to earn from selling agro-inputs, agro-services and produce.

The Farm Connect platform allows stakeholders in the agribusiness value chain to earn from selling agro-inputs, agro-services and produce.

Photo of James Makumbi
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James commented on Farm Connect

Thank you for your question Bahenda Joseph , we thought of this as one of our fundamental challenges. That is why we partnered with http://uagnda.dotrust.org/ who are already training youth in ICT skills. We would like to get those youth give them a short 10 - 12 month "skilling course" on how to manage an agri-business. So far Mukono University has been identified by my business partner while I personally am in talks with UCU to help put together this course. 
I am confident a 10 week course will work because I personally am a graduate of one such course from http://bdcuganda.com/ and know it can change ones life. We are opting for skilling whereby people are taught hands on and on the job because we have seen that this approach gives the most mileage in the least time. It also allows us to weed out poor performers early before any damage is doen to the programme.
The question with regard to pay is a good one. I am not ashamed to say I am challenged by it. On one hand I am tempted to offer these youth support and facilitation with the promise of commission on sales just as my company will be getting. I am also considering asking participating farmers to pay a modest retainer fee to their managers which might establish an employee-employer relationship. lastly I am considering putting them on my payroll. The latter is a huge risk given that the company runs off subscription and will not have much in capital to begin with.
My team are already gainfully employed and are currently volunteering their time. After the first pilot, we should have demonstrated sustainability and a small team including myself should then be able to work full time as paid employees.

Hello Ashley King-Bischof , This idea is brilliant! And the presentation (post) is awesome too! I would love to hear more about the fulfillment (ask sent no response) part of the idea and where your revenues (only transport?) are from. 

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James commented on Farm Connect

Hello Elizabeth Kimball , The idea about urban youth was a initially a solution to Uganda's "last mile problem". While our network coverage for decent internet in uganda is around 80%, the usage is around 10% with high concentrations around popular urban areas and along routes determined by laying out of fibre. Farmers can neither afford nor use smartphones. Those who can are illiterate of the internet.
At the same time, youth are selling their small hold farms at ridiculously cheap prices in order to move to urban areas. Those that came to study in urban areas never left! We have had graduate classes in agro-business courses with 100+ students for one year now. Where do they go? What do they do?
We would like those youth to return to THEIR OWN villages and convince farmers who either know or know of them to combine their farms for the common good.
By having familiar youth who not only speak the same language but have a stake (employment, stature and belonging), this engenders trust and hopefully cooperation.
I love the Markit idea. It was one of the first ideas I saw. While I am not a fan of social enterprise, I applaud self sustaining efforts that improve lives and foster developement. Our rollout model will be along lines similar to your phase one.