August 10, 2016
“Before, we used to struggle to know the exact size of our land. Thanks to this new platform introduced by UN Women, we will know the exact size of our land and this will help us to forecast our level of production and negotiate better with the buyers and financial institutions and secure loans that reflect our production potentials”, affirmed Ms. Christine MUKARUKUNDO, a maize farmer member of TUZAMURANE CYEZA Cooperative in Muhanga District, Southern Province of Rwanda.
TUZAMURANE has been selected among 10 other cooperatives in different parts of Rwanda to pilot UN Women’s innovative Buy from Women platform, implemented in partnership with WFP’s Patient Procurement Platform (PPP), which improves farmers’ capacity to produce marketable surplus and increases their market access. Buy From Women is a digital, mobile-enabled platform that connects small holder farmers (men and women) to the agricultural supply chain, and provides them with critical information on market prices, sensitization on gender equality, and other incoming opportunities via text messages. The registration process includes a mapping of farmers’ land plots, which is then used to generate a yield forecast. It also captures farmers’ and cooperatives’ experience with finance and provides real time reports in dashboard form of key performance indicators.
A contract signing meeting took place at the Cooperative’s Headquarter in Cyeza Sector on 4 August 2016, in the presence of a delegation from UN Women HQ and Country Office, WFP’s PPP team, Rwanda Development Organization (RDO), and officials from Rwanda Grain and Cereals Corporation (RGCC). At this occasion, Ms Fiona Bayat-Renoux, Special Adviser for the Policy and Programme Bureau (New York) said that UN Women and WFP have joined hands to improve the PPP’s gender responsiveness and to leverage technology to address the barriers facing women farmers. Mr. Ashish Gadnis, a consultant who supported UN Women in developing the Buy From Women platform, explained how the platform will link farmers’ land size to a forecast of their maize production, to their forward contract with RGCC. The information captured on the Buy from Women platform will also improve the credit profile of farmers and cooperatives over time, increasing their access to finance.
“We used to sign contracts with buyers and not be able to meet its terms, especially related to supplies because farmers would go ahead and side sell part of their produce. Now with this system, everyone will know in advance the quantity of produce that he or she is required to bring at the Cooperative, and this will motivate everyone to meet the requirement and even aim to produce surplus”, added MUKANOHELI Beatrice, another woman member and Adviser in TUZAMURANE Cooperative, very excited.
The meeting ended on a high note as the Cooperative President, Mr. Dieudonne Barihafi, and the Managing Director of RGCC, Mr. Nzitatira Ntwali Alain signed a pre-planting contract worth 80 metric tons of maize, with minimum floor prices for the imminent planting season. The Cooperative will sell their produce to RGCC at a price that will be determined by both parties based on market prices.