The Bank of Kigali (BK) Tech-house has invited local and international investors to join an ambitious journey in implementing the next level of scaling and enhancing the Smart Nkunganire System (SNS) – Rwanda’s national agro-inputs subsidy management system.
The call was made this Tuesday by the BK Tech House, a subsidiary of the Bank of Kigali Group, during an online launch of a 3-years strategy (2021-2023) to scale up the platform towards a full-fledged Integrated Agriculture Platform with the grant support from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Developed in 2017, SNS is a joint effort to digitize Rwanda’s national farmers’ input subsidy program, under a public-private-partnership arrangement between BKTechouse and the Rwanda Agricultural and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB).
In three years, this program has seen over 1.2million farmers and 1,300 dealers enrolled in the program where they access integrated digital SNS services including agri inputs orders such as fertilizers and seeds, digital purchases and payments via the BK Ikofi wallet among others.
In 2020, the Gates foundation and BK TechHouse evaluated the digital agriculture landscape in Rwanda to expand the SNS ecosystem to better serve the small scale farmers. In the result presented as a roadmap for the new three years, the consultant team showed that the program is ripe and needs to be scaled up to reach more farmers and increase agriculture sector performance-which currently contributes 30% of the Gross Domestic Products.
For instance, the consultancy report showed a need for more investors in micro data systems that can be linked to the government data in providing agriculture insurance sector which currently has the lowest number of investors compared to the areas of access to credit and data driven decision making.
The roadmap report also indicated that to reduce the high costs incurred in providing the SNS services, there is need to diversify from the current single service provider (BKTechHouse) through investment partnership in the existing digital agriculture ecosystem.
Jean Claude Munyangabo, the CEO of BK TecHouse said that this is why the firm has opened a business partnership opportunity window calling for investors in all domains to join BK tech house to explore these existing investment opportunities in three areas that have not been tapped in- that is farmer harvests, produce sales, and use of products.
“We invite partners to join us in this very ambitious journey and be part of the new roadmap. We invite them to apply and show interest in partnership so we can decide which partner to go with,” Munyangabo said. Investment opportunities Tentative investment areas need include- farmer management and profiling messaging engine, credit and risk assessment, integrated inventory management, soil health and yield assessment, developing market data sets between private sector and government, market partnership development and creating digital signatures among others.
The application window for this partnership is currently open till March 15, 2021 and can be accessed on www.bktechhouse.rw or through email [email protected], call 0788 143 000.
Applicants will be required to show their business track record in Rwanda or East Africa, indicate which digital product they will invest in and ability to integrate with existing SNS system, and suggest partnership and revenue models among others.
Dr Charles Bucagu, the Rwanda Agricultural Board Deputy Director General who officiated the launch event said Rwanda is focusing on 2024 plan moving from subsistence to economic growth transformation of sector- to increase productivity using technology, but providing efficient and timely extension services to farmers.
Bucagu said digitalization of sector is a key factor as seen in the Bank of Kigali SNS agriculture inputs management system which is a solution to manage the complex access to inputs for farmers.
“All 1.2million farmers are enjoying the SNS system but as a way forward we want this to be scaled up and integrated with others functions not only seed and fertilizers but disease control, access to data on whether and crop and soil management –and other factors to increase productivity,” Bucagu said.
On behalf of government, Bucagu said they will support BKTechhouse and other partners to have this agenda moved forward so that in coming years farmers will only use their phones to access information that can help them increase productivity. “We are ready to be part of this project and calling for synergies that complement so that in few years we see transformation and digitalization of the sector,” he said.