Our barley farmers can now have access to digital payments and technology to further their economic opportunity thanks to our block chain programme. The programme is being implemented as a partnership between Top brewer ABInbev, our parent company and BanQu, a non-cryptocurrency block chain platform, with barley farmers in Uganda and cassava farmers in Zambia being the pilot. Through this collaboration, we are on the journey to achieving our agriculture sustainability goal to have 100% of our direct farmers skilled, connected and financially empowered by 2025. “The technology allows transparent real time transactions with end traceability. Farmers’ data is recorded on spot and the farmer owns this data and is able to access it from anywhere,” says Theunis Coetzee, Agric Manager EA AB Inbev. “This therefore increases accountability, and the same data of produce and earnings enable farmers have better access to financial tools and partnership opportunities with financial services,” he adds.
Africa BlockChain Conference
Coetzee shared on NBL’s experience of working with farmers on block chain during the Block Chain Africa Conference, held at Serena Kampala Hotel on July 3-4th 2019. The conference brought together tech gurus, business people, United Nations organisations and like-minded businesses and individuals keen on providing solutions to create a better world through such emerging technologies. Started in 2018 in Sebei sub region, the pilot in Uganda recorded 349 transactions worth over Shs880M on 587 tonnes of barley from the 316 registered farmers. Today 1200 are registered and we project that by the end of 2019, 3000 barley farmers will be registered. It is projected that 8000 tons of barley will be bought through block chain. However, this is also dependent on ownership of mobile phones by farmers and also extending of telecommunication services in the areas, some of which are very hilly and remote. Currently NBL works with 8,000 barley farmers per season.
How it works
On harvesting and getting their barley ready for the market, the farmers transport it to an allocated buying center. At the center, it is checked for quality by the respective Nile Breweries official, the details are then recorded in a system on phone. The negotiated amount is then paid to a farmer electronically and recorded. The farmer will then receive an SMS showing the quality, quantity and price and this record is with both farmer and Nile breweries. The farmer accesses the payment on presenting the code to the partner bank or mobile telecom. “ This SMS is an electronic receipt for a farmer, it is evidence of their produce and its quality. With this, a farmer will have an economic identity since you can tell how much they produced, its quality and the price they sold at,” says Ashish Gadnis, Ceo of BanQu. This system is a great way forward to improving agriculture because it gives farmers an opportunity to gather evidence of their potential which they can present to financial institutions like banks thus can get credit and improve their agriculture or lives.
Making a difference in farmers’ lives
“We support our direct farmers to access cutting-edge innovations through digital tools like Blockchain because it is important for us that our farmers are getting better at their activity and are also making money,” says Onapito Ekomoloit, Legal &Corporate Affairs Director, NBL. “This Smart Agriculture project enables us show who the farmers are, as we have record and also prove that they are indeed making money,” he says. Being on our platform will also give the farmers an economic identity, thus allowing them to become “bankable” and apply for loans at the bank. According to Onapito, NBL is pleased to share how it is providing solutions to create a better world through such emerging technologies. Farmers are excited and energized by the new technology.