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Brussels Briefing n. 55: Alice Namuli Blazevic "Blockchain legislation: the case of Uganda"


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The Brussels Development Briefing n. 55 on "Opportunities of blockchain for agriculture" organised by CTA, the European Commission/EuropeAid, the ACP Secretariat, Concord and BMZ was held on 15th May 2019 (9h00-13h00) at the ACP Secretariat, Avenue Georges Henri 451, 1200 Brussels, Room C.

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Brussels Briefing n. 55: Alice Namuli Blazevic "Blockchain legislation: the case of Uganda"

  2. 2. BACKGROUND OF THE UGANDA AGRICULTURAL SECTOR  Agriculture is fundamental to Uganda’s economy, contributing 26% to GDP and employing about 70% of the population (Deloitte, 2017). Despite its huge potential, Uganda’s agricultural sector remains stifled by a number of challenges. It is still largely traditional, of subsistence and highly dependent on natural conditions such as rainfall and sunshine.
  3. 3. CURRENT STATUS  Today, technology presents an opportunity to transform agriculture through Commercialization, Aggregation, and Agri-business. Technology can ensure efficient operation of the value chain activities from production to processing, logistics, warehousing; access to finance, increasing access to market information for better decision making.
  4. 4. BLOCKCHAIN IN UGANDA  Uganda is experiencing a lot of growth in the blockchain industry.  Pockets of blockchain innovation are fast springing up in innovation hubs across the country, as the public and private sector alike seek effective new systems of record with trust embedded.  The use of Blockchain technologies could more than double production which could raise the per capita income and bring Uganda closer to middle income status
  5. 5. BLOCKCHAIN IN AGRICULTURE  Blockchain technology is well suited to provide traceability of products. It makes it possible to know with high confidence, the origin, storage and expiration date of the product.  Startups like Avenews-Gti, a decentralized ecosystem for agricultural trade, provide a digital trading platform based on blockchain technology. It connects food wholesalers to food producers without third parties or middlemen, reducing distribution costs, creating financial security, and providing chain transparency.  Social network blockchain company, FaceCoin, offers a smart futures contract platform that helps farmers and the unbanked on the continent through token offerings. Food Asset Coin Eco-System, as the program is called, allows investors to issue tokens to African farmers which can be used to purchase fertilizer products.
  6. 6. BLOCKCHAIN IN AGRICULTURE  Carico Café Connoisseur , a Ugandan company has started using blockchain, to certify shipments of coffee to try to meet growing demand from consumers for more information about where products have come from.  Carico Café Connoisseur is helping to boost farmers’ incomes, as consumers are usually prepared to pay more for goods that can been traced back to their origins.  Major benefits , transparent , tamperproof and easy to track goods along the supply chain
  7. 7. BLOCKCHAIN IN AGRICULTURE  The newest entrant is a revolutionary project led by a London listed company, Block Commodities (NEX: BLCC) is deploying Blockchain to create an ecosystem designed to help farmers access agriculture finance.
  8. 8. PARTNERSHIP WITH PURE GROW AFRICA  Block Commodities is partnering with Pure Grow Africa, a leading supplier of high-quality agricultural produce (dry edible beans) based in Uganda, supporting the development of the blockchain-powered ecosystem which lies at the core of its mission to help Africa grow.
  9. 9.  The scheme will benefit 1000 smallholder farmers selected by Pure Grow to integrate Block’s blockchain ecosystem. The farmers will be given cryptocurrency loan with which to purchase fertilizer and they will start repayments only after harvesting.  Access to fertilizers and seeds could double the income of smallholder farmers which could raise the per capita income.
  10. 10. BLOCKCHAIN AND POLICY  In the past year the country has hosted various blockchain conferences, various blockchain associations and communities with a lot of support from government at Cabinet level.
  11. 11.  Uganda has shown her interest in the blockchain technology and the propensity towards it was displayed during the Africa Blockchain Conference of 2018 where both the President and ICT Minister endorsed the idea of working out means to exploit the technology.
  12. 12.  Even without regulations in place, most of the blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies are not facing much resistance from regulators in Uganda, unlike in most countries across the continent.
  13. 13.  The government is in the process of developing policy guidelines and encouraging industries to utilize the technology.  The government of Uganda, spear headed by the Ministry of ICT has moved to constitute a ‘National Blockchain Taskforce” to come up with a policy to streamline the use of blockchain.  It is anticipated that after the policy has been crafted, adequate legislation will be enacted to augment the policy framework
  14. 14.  The government is also in the process of introducing tax mechanisms and incentives that encourage the private sector to invest in blockchain. This would open up new opportunities for public-private partnership.
  15. 15.  The government is also availing education and training opportunities to build the necessary manpower, and more investment in new start ups to support their growth and in return boost the economy.
  16. 16. ECO SYSTEM SUPPORTING BLOCKCHAIN IN AGRICULTURE  Land registration on the blockchain  Blockchain Finance
  17. 17. FUTURE OF BLOCKCHAIN IN AGRICULTURE  The future of blockchain on the continent is quite optimistic.  For Uganda to maximize its full potential of the use of blockchain technology, support and collaboration is needed within the whole eco-system, including but not limited to investment capital, multi-stakeholder collaboration at national and continent level, development of regulatory standards and codes of conduct, enabling/training talent, support for the role of incubators, innovation hubs, educational institutions etc.