Electronic system to check fake agro products in Uganda

Uganda Farm Michael Shade Wikimedia CommonsCounterfeit agricultural inputs, such as fertilisers with low nitrogen content, have been affecting farmers’ productivity. (Image source: Michael Shade/Wikimedia Commons)Uganda’s government plans to unveil an electronic system that will enable farmers determine if their agricultural inputs are genuine or counterfeits at the point of sale

The new system is called Uganda National Bureau of Standards e-tag Goldkeys Agro-verification. It will use the e-tag quality certification and auditing service of Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) and mPedigree’s Goldkeys serialisation and authentication engine. This would create a channel for verifying not only the source and supply chain status of agro-inputs, but also their conformity to acceptable quality standards under the country’s laws and regulations.

Starting next year, when the system is expected to come into effect, farmers will find a panel on the agriculture inputs they buy. Scratching the panel will reveal a code that farmers can text to a central toll free telephone number. The sender will then receive a reply which will qualify the product as genuine or counterfeit.

“The new system will check the authenticity of herbicides, hybrid seeds and fertiliser, and we hope it would lead to a dramatic increase in yields and the adoption of improved agricultural technologies,” said Jackson Mugisha, consumer segment manager at UNBS. He added that the codes printed on the labels would provide buyers with other information such as brand name, input type and concentration, batch number, and dates of manufacture and expiry.

mPedigree is a multinational technology firm based in Accra, Ghana, with operations in nine countries in sub-Saharan Africa, United Kingdom, India and South Asia. Development of the verification system is being supported by USAID and RenPublishing, a local company.

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