According to research, livestock farming is one of the versatile sectors in Uganda that employs about 60 per cent of Uganda’s population. It supports millions of livelihoods and contributes substantially to the economy.
However, many farmers have suffered countless losses due to limited information flow. This is something Ronald Katamba,an information technology specialist, seeks to change. His idea is a mobile SMS system to assist farmers in the country that suffer from many losses in livestock production because of the inability to track their livestock, understand the weather and seasonal changes, access expert livestock services.
By creating an SMS service, lack of substantial information on the latest market trends and the difficulty of accessing regional markets is reduced. The information technology specialist who is passionate about farming, and was born into a farming family says, the name Lunda is the local name for cattle keeping and as such, this service helps farmers to buy, sell and get information to grow their businesses.
This system he says is developed for small scale farmers, accessible by mobile phone and web application. This enables farmers to monitor submission rates and check overall progress to ensure targets are being met.
Some of the features include cow, goat, sheep, and pigs’ gestation calendar, livestock market and access to agricultural extension service experts for consultation among others.
Katamba says the implementation of Lunda is aimed at solving most of the problems faced by farmers, keeping the farmers and everyone else in the farming sector updated with the latest trends and avails information on livestock production.
“Most small scale farmers in the rural areas also do not have enough knowledge on how to maximise their profits from their produce and use poor preservation techniques an issue that can be dealt with,” he says.
Katamba says that Lunda has a customer care contact that registered users can text to provide feedback and receive advice in different languages such as English, Swahili, Runyankole, Rukiga, Lumasaba and Ateso.
Katamba says that breeding season is a time of critical importance for any cattle farmer. “Tracking every aspect of the season in detail is of huge importance as it sets the foundation for production next year and in subsequent years,” he adds.
The Lunda service also enables farmers to locate the nearest veterinarian or artificial insemination specialist via SMS or through the Lunda website using GPS and Google Maps. In addition, its enables farmers to trade livestock and livestock by products via mobile phone.
Despite its name, farmers can trade in livestock and also other products such as poultry. For farmers who want to sell their livestock, this service gives you a platform to connect with potential buyers.
All the farmer has to do is to send the information to the service which then broadcasts the animals available and once the connection is made, negotiations between the farmer and the seller can commence between the two parties.
How it works
Katamba says if a farmer has a query all they have to do is go to their mobile phone messages and type Lunda leave a space, put the question and send to 6868 across all networks and you will get a reply. He says that the service can connect you to an expert, for example, a veterinary doctor who is able to tell you what to do for the wellbeing of your livestock.
Lunda enables livestock farmers in Uganda to more accurately track their goat, rabbit, sheep and cows gestation period via mobile phone.
All a farmer has to do is register their animals insemination date via SMS short code to their system , then they receive periodic SMS prompts timed with vital days during the gestation period and getting monthly tips of keeping your livestock in good condition.
The service also sends weekly SMS message alerts to subscribers with information and tips on breeding.
More so, it can send broadcast messages to all people in the community in case of any disease outbreak.
From Daily Monitor