January 25, 2018

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Field Trip to Kiboga District :  “Farmers have commitment and desire to Learn” 

On the 12th June 2018,  we were scheduled to travel to Kiboga to meet with  farmer leaders in the Kiboga Grain Producers Society.  The meeting had been planned to start at 10 hrs , that meant that all the districts leaders and farmers leaders assembled in time to wait for us.   This was to be the first meeting between FIT and Producer Organisation; in principle it was  our marketing and selling  event.   Due to unavoidable  series of events  we were not able to set off from Kampala by 8.00 hrs , but started our journey to Kiboga at 12.00 hrs.  The trip normally  takes about one and half hours but we arrived at 14.30 hrs.  The team experienced a number of delay, road works and detours .

As marketing person , I knew that we should apologise and reschedule for another day for the respect the farmer’s time and plan better next time.  The farmers leaders  had waiting for us for about  5 hours. We needed at least  one and hours for our meeting and interaction with the leaders.  After the introduction and apologises , we ask if we can shorten the time of our engagement so that the  farmers can go back to their normal business. Too our surprise all the 41 farmers said ” …no  no, we have waited for you and we know that this may be our turning point , you can not give us only 30 minutes, you will go when we have run out of questions ….   By this statement I was humbled and started my presentation of Infotrade Services.  A meeting that was to take one and half, very participatory  took 5 hours , questions after questions, discussion after discussion  among the leaders; consultation and taking of resolutions.  These farmers were determined to have their organisations have website  for marketing of their producer organisation, market information as a services , the infotrade ICT platform as tool to manage membership services and linkages.

 Despite the fact that we delayed, our interactions and discussions with the  41 members of the cooperatives were very fruitful.  All the farmer leaders ; asked for immediate registration  for services as sign of leadership. By 18.30 hrs , we had profiled  34 farmers in the systems.  

When farmers see value !!! time and transport refunds are not an issue.  The reaction we great , We where tasked to be back on 21st June to have  300 of their members introduced to the service with aim of have each farmer with a mobile phone receive market information ( i.e. price on maize, coffee and beans), weather alerts and financial tips  on their phones on weekly basis.

This event was humbling ,  I personally appreciated the team that mobilised  farmers; Techno serve and the Producer Organisation leadership  for their commitment to member service programs and desire for growth and change. I feel indebt to this group.  The time  with the group was learning and teaching moment for me. We need to deliver to our promises.

Our communities need the services but lack exposure and access.