Going upcountry

About 2,5 hours northwest of Kampala, lies the district Kiboga. Dirt roads take you from tiny village to tiny village, where rolex stands, cell phone kiosks and soda shops line the road and most people are farmers.

The beautiful Ankole cows – with their majestic, oversized horns – can be found everywhere you look.

About 14 km by dirt road from the nearest village lies Dwaniro Dairy & Livestock Farmers Cooperative. Here, more than 20,000 litres of milk is brought in from the surrounding farms every day for processing.

I got to visit on what I was told was a “slow” day in early December, as the dry period is still in effect in the area (we offered to send them some of the rain that’s been plaguing Kampala). The purpose of the visit was a checkup on our pilot project of Emata, an app that is digitizing the transactions between farmers, milk transporters and cooperatives.

Having worked in fintech (financial technology) for two years now, this is the most exiting project I’ve been a part of so far. We do far more complex operations for our “normal” clients in banking and finance, but with Emata we are using our knowledge and experience to develop an underfunded sector that has a huge potential for growth.

One of the things that make me believe in this project is the fact that it is a product built by Ugandans in Uganda (and that is what I tell anyone who cares to listen at dinner parties). People with local knowledge on top of their excellent programming skills. It is not a solution looking for a problem, like so many other startups.

The next year will be an exiting one for Emata, as we continue to develop our product. Which means more trips down dirt roads to visit friends in Dwaniro and other dairy cooperatives.

Yoghurt in a glass
Fresh yoghurt (almost) directly from the cow.

Have a keen interest for farmer financing in rural Uganda? Read more about Emata here.