BK Tech house together with Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) and the Private Sector Federation (PSF) held a one-day meeting with the public and private institutions in agriculture as well as beneficiaries of the agro-input subsidy program (Farmers & agro-input suppliers, dealers and distributors) to discuss on the use of Smart Nkunganire System (SNS).
The three partners showcased the new technology platform which will digitize Rwanda’s agro-input end to end value chain to increase efficiency, productivity and transparency while also helping small-scale and large-scale farmers in getting loans and insurances.
It all starts with a farmer dialing *774# on mobile phone or computer using a national identity card number and be guided through the process.
The farmer also needs to know the UPI number of the land used for farming activities.
In this process, the farmer will be registered and then validated by the local government authority in charge of agriculture to make sure provided information is accurate.
Over 19,000 facilitators have been trained across the country to support this process.
Based on pre-set configuration by RAB, the system will recommend the appropriate agro-inputs needed and the quantity to be applied based on the size of the land used for agriculture as well as the location of the land.
After registration and validation, the farmer will know the specific type of seeds and fertilizer to use and how much it will cost him/her at a subsidized price, allowing the government to also know how much it will need to cover the subsidies and an overall view of the full picture at country down to the village level.
The farmer will be able to apply for a loan to purchase the agro-input they need from financial institutions or telcos to be integrated with platform.
“Our concept is to De-Risk Agriculture!” Said CEO of BK TecHouse Regis Rugemanshuro. He explained that the SNS platform powered with a state of the art big data analytics engine will provide financial institutions, telcos and insurance companies with the information needed to issue personalized instant loans and crop insurance with the guarantee that the money disbursed through the platform can only be used to buy fertilizers, improved seeds, pesticides, mechanization and Small-Scale Irrigation Technology (SSIT).
“We believe that the platform will fast track the country’s effort to become a cashless and green economy and will significantly contribute to increasing financial inclusion” said Rugemanshuro.
Though 70% of Rwandans live off agricultural activities and contribute to 30% of the GDP, only 7.4% of the total commercial loans were allocated to agriculture according to the Finscope report 2016.
SNS will give the lenders assurance that the money they lend will be used exactly for the right purpose and will ensure the farmer complies with best farming practices recommended through the platform leading to higher quantity and better quality of harvest.
The loans will also be season based with an expiration date in case the farmer does not use it, so that it can be allocated to other investments.
The SNS platform will also facilitate “contract farming” by linking farmers and post-harvest aggregators to buy from the farmers or cooperatives at harvest Rugemanshuro explained.
“We want to empower the farmer not only with personalized best farming practice information but also with the ability to choose who he/she does business with, whether a bank, telco, insurance company or post-harvest aggregator to whom he/she sells the harvest.”
“Competition to acquire the farmer will not only drive down the interest rate but will also increase the buying price for the harvest.”
“We will be happy when the total loans allocated to agriculture get to double digits and the agro-input subsidy program is completely a cashless and paperless business, as this should lead to significant social economic positive changes in Rwanda, ” Added Rugemanshuro.
The platform is also expected to remarkably contribute to the growth of the insurance sector in Rwanda.
SNS cutting edge yield predictive model will not only help the farmer plan better but will also be used by insurance companies to personalize their micro insurance schemes.
On the other side, Rwanda agriculture board (RAB) pledged to make sure that famers get genuine seeds, fertilizers, and irrigation equipment while PSF will link up agro-dealers, cooperatives or other possible markets to farmers.
“This will also help PSF create more opportunities and value for its members in the agriculture sector said Christine Murebwayire, chairperson of Chamber of agriculture at PSF.
According to Gatari Egide, the subsidies program manager at RAB, 2 million farmers are expected to have registered before the beginning of season 19A in July 2018.
Pascal Ngirente fruit farmer in Rwamagana district told KT Press that there has been delays in the distribution of seeds and fertilizers due to lack of proper delivery channels. “We hope that SNS system will stop it.”