Digitisation & change management


This is the 21st century. Everything is entered in computers. Managed by computers. Created by computers. We are even able to shoot electric cars into space, mostly done by computers!

But not in the dairy sector in Uganda. Not yet.

However, we would like to. It would be fantastic to see a digital system which controls the flow of milk and money at cooperative level. Wouldn’t it? With a simple push on a button you could see which farmer delivered how much milk at which time and received how much money. On his mobile phone. If I were a manager of a dairy cooperative that would be heaven! Ok, a bit exaggerated. But still, imagine the insight you would have in the process of milk delivery, procurement and sales.

UN Capital Development Fund Uganda has a lot experience with digital financial services and digital innovations that facilitate financial flows between various value chain actors. They asked Laboremus to assist in developing digital milk ledgers. Then, Airtel, MTN, YoUganda can provide mobile money services.

These services can be provided by dairy cooperatives. A great opportunity for them!

And that is where TIDE comes in, the dairy development project run by SNV where Agriterra is responsible for the cooperative development part. More than 70 cooperatives are part of the project at the moment.

So we started a pilot with 4 cooperatives. Small steps. Assessments show that these cooperatives have many challenges. The needs they come up with are clear, and necessary. And to my surprise, not a single cooperatives mentions their need to digitise their operations.

Meaning, the world is ready. The NGOs are ready. We all see the need and advantages of digitisation. Except for the end users, the dairy cooperatives and her members.

A lot of work needs to be done by Team Agriterra within TIDE. This is true change management. How do we get to the point that the staff, management and Board of these dairy cooperatives see the need to change. To also enter the 21st century. To experience these advantages.

Last week my colleagues told me that more and more cooperatives approached the team to enquire about these digitisation opportunities. This a great start!! Small steps. Big results.

More to follow once this pilot is well on its way

Taco Hoekstra, business advisor Agriterra

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