Knowledge Networks and Sector Desks; What do they entail?
Knowledge Networks formerly known as Communities of Practice consist of members who identify and share best practices, create new knowledge and ensure business linkage through networking. Currently there are three Knowledge Networks. These are;
- Network Finance- Members in Finance Network jointly identify topics broadly related to improving access to finance and funding opportunities.
- Network P4P- Partnership for Productivity Network identifies best practices in partnering for increasing productivity across the value chain. Discussion ranges from smallholders and service providers to suppliers.
- Network Entrepreneurship – involves all areas related to Entrepreneurship and some wide variety of entrepreneurial skills required to thrive in members’ businesses.
Sector Desks are similar to Knowledge Networks in that they bring members together to ensure business linkage. However Sector Desks work on specific challenges and opportunities. Members benefit increasingly from the B2B network. Currently the Sector Desk consists of;
- Poultry Desk – involves all poultry SMEs in AAA. Topics in Poultry Desks include good poultry keeping practices, animal health and genetics as well as composition and market development.
- Dairy Desk – Members in the Dairy Desk share knowledge in a wide range of topics in Dairy. Topics include genetics and breeding, feed and fodder, value addition on milk and new technologies.
- Agri-Input Desks – This Desk focuses on issues such as quality and standards in Agri-input production along with regulation and cross border trade, developing value chains, equipment and infrastructure and marketing.
- Honey Desk – The Honey Desk focuses on the booming business of beekeeping. Best practices and topics include bee forage management, product innovation, product diversification and product innovation and quality. The Desks also focuses on helping small-scale beekeeping to become commercial enterprises.
Knowledge Network and Sector Desk Activities
Honey Week in Kampala
Honey Desk in partnership with TUNADO and UNBS participated in the Uganda Honey week. It aimed on transforming beekeeping from subsistence to commercial and as a way of empowering women and youth. With more than 10 AAA members from Uganda and Tanzania, different products were showcased giving an opportunity for business deals and partnerships. Members were also trained on best beekeeping practices, the best apiary model, harvesting and required standards for local and international markets.
Dairy Week in Kampala
The Dairy week aimed on promoting milk consumption. Before the expo, 12 members were also trained on Animal Genetics and breeding as well as Feed and Fodder by a trainer from National Animal Genetic Resource Center (NAGRIC) in Uganda. During this training, members focused on comparison of different breeds in EA and which ones are the best. Best practices on artificial insemination were also described to members. Members had a chance to show case their products for two days during the National Dairy event. At the expo, members had a live demonstration of different technologies regarding dairy at local, region and beyond.
Village Model Launch Event – Kampala
Organized by P4P Knowledge Network, the aim of this event was pooling together different member entrepreneurs within AAA. Members were to showcase products and services to organized farmer groups of the community and consolidate market and trade partnership opportunities. Members visited 3 farms owned by a farmer group already working with farm support, a member of AAA. These farmers were in dairy, fish farming and beekeeping enterprises. On-farm technical expertise and entrepreneurial skills were taught on how these farmers can improve their enterprises. A total of 3 members, 65 farmers and 7 potential members participated. The event also trained entrepreneurs and farmers on team work.
Among the key factors mentioned for the best farmer/entrepreneurs relationship include;
- a) Entrepreneurs should ensure that records of the farmers are kept by both parties
- b) Services such as insurance, access to affordable finance
- c) Periodic training of the farmers with support from the entrepreneurs through the existing networks and
- d) Regular feedback from both parties.