To promote smallholder farmers’ access to favorable agricultural markets for improved incomes.
- Agricultural credit: Promoting access to agricultural credit services for small holder farmers to facilitate agribusiness.
In partnership with Oxfam, PELUM Uganda has supported over 2,000 smallholder farmers to access savings and credit services through Village saving and lending Associations (VSLA) and SACCOs. This has contributed to an increase in the farmers monthly savings from less than USD 1 to USD 6 per person and an average of US$ 170 to US$300 per farmer group. The farmers have also integrated practices such as record keeping, meeting minute taking and filing, developing and operationalising business plans andconstitutions to guide group management. As such, the farmers are now able to cater for needs such as school fees, medical care, hiring land and buying farm inputs such as seed. This prevents them from selling produce at low prices in order to access ‘quick money’. Increase in production and income are another outcome of increased access to savings and credit. Linkage to other finance institutions is being strongly promoted. Models to connect smallholder farmers to commercial banks have been documented and are being promoted among the farmers.
- Market information:Promoting smallholder farmers’ access to market information to enable them make informed market decisions, and access profitable markets for their produce.
PELUM Uganda is partnering with market information service providers such as FIT Uganda, Farmgain and the East African Grain Council to access weekly agricultural market information and redistribute it to smallholder farmers. This is done through community radio stations, email, phone SMSes, village information boards, and dialogues with buyers. Many farmers have utilised this market information to access better markets, strengthen relationships with buyers and to produce relevant crops for the market.“I got to know about available markets for fruits and vegetables in Elegu and Nimule sub-counties through radio. Before this market opportunity, I used to earn about Ugx 200,000 per season from my produce but I currently earn Ugx 750,000 per season because I sell in these two markets. With this improvement, I can meet my basic needs; I have been able to increase my fruit trees and bananas; and started rearing croiler poultry breeds to supplement my income and strengthen household nutrition,” says Robert Kongu, a farmer working with Environment Alert in Moyo district.
- Value addition and market linkages: Promoting post-harvest handling, value addition and marketing of agricultural products among smallholder farmers to enable them to access profitable markets.
Through its member organizations, PELUM Uganda has been able to enhance knowledge and skills for over 2,000 smallholder farmers in agricultural value addition. Farmer groups are able to devise ways of maintaining the quality of their agricultural products through best practices in post-harvest handling which are mainly enforced by the formed committees (marketing and quality control). In a review meeting conducted in April 2015, it was revealed that having realized the benefits from improving practices in post-harvest handling, farmer groups have increased production and adoption of value addition best practices. A case in point is Nyakabingo United farmers’ Associated located in Kasese district whose produce has improved due to the improved post harvest handling and value addition. “Previously, we used to make many loses from selling fresh coffee beans at prices decided by traders. But now, with knowledge in sorting of coffee beans and our pulping machines, we add value to our coffee and get better prices. Collective marketing has given our group, a lot of advantage especially when it comes to bargaining with buyers. We are easily heard and respected. In the last harvesting season, we sold our coffee to a better buyer (an exporter) who gave us better prices, that is Ugx 4000 Kg of coffee beans in the previous season to Ugx 7000 per Kg of coffee beans.’
- Marketing models: Promoting small scale farmer friendly and gender sensitive marketing models and value chain development approaches.
4.1 PESA Agro-marketing model.
Over 1400 smallholder farmers have been supported to improve the quality of sesame and rice through the PESA Agro Enterprise marketing model. The farmers are now attracting buyers willing to pay 11% higher than the going price for sesame. The PESA model is a practical value chain development model that opens a platform and opportunity for smallholder farmers to become active players in the agricultural market place in partnership with all the players across the value chain. Through the model, smallholder farmers have been able to’
- Developed business plans at individual and group levels
- Improve agricultural documentation
- Engage with value chain actors which has improved relationships with buyers, in-put dealers and researchers.
- Dialogue with policy makers who have clarified on policies such as taxes and market dues.
The ‘PESA’ model is currently being implemented in Northern and West Nile regions of Uganda (Nebbi, Gulu and Arua districts). Implementation is focusing on smallholder farmers engaged in the Simsim and Rice value chains. You can download the THE PESA AGRO ENTERPRISE MARKETING MODEL writeup for more details about the model.
4.2 Virtual Livelihood School Africa (VLSA) UGANDA PHASE II (APRIL 2014-MARCH 2016)
PELUM Uganda, a nester of the VLSA-Uganda initiative received another round of funding from the Ford Foundation to build on the results of the incubation phase over the past 1.5 years in Uganda. The grant is aimed at developing knowledge and capabilities of a critical mass of livelihood promoters or facilitators who will work directly with the poor in Uganda to positively impact their lives. VLSA – Uganda initiative will focus on three main objectives:
- To enhance learning with networks by documenting, facilitating sharing experiences and best practices among livelihood stakeholders in Uganda.
- To empower a critical number of livelihood promoters in Uganda with relevant practical skills in livelihood promotion.
- Organizational /Institutional development and Program Management.
The primary beneficiaries are livelihood promoters or facilitators, lead farmers and agro-enterprise owners. For the livelihood school in Uganda to achieve its mission, it will focus more on the local or grass root level and aim to scale through its network of local, national and regional partners.
4.3 Using the Gender Action Learning (GALS) methodology to ensure Gender equity and Equality in Value Chain Development
Since 2011, PELUM Uganda has been involved in promoting gender justice by using the Gender Action Learning (GALS) methodology in its programmes, projects and policies. The innovative Gender Action Learning System (GALS) is a key methodology employed to challenge and change gender inequalities in households and communities. GALS also addresses power issues between communities and service providers, religious and traditional authorities, private sector and Government actors. The methodology uses visual diagramming tools (see photo below) enabling people at different levels in the chain to plan for livelihood improvements in ways which benefit both women and men. The methodology further enables men and women to establish multi-stakeholder consensus on promoting gender justice and prioritising the weakest parts of the chain; as well as developing a ’win-win’ multi-stakeholder collective vision with strategies and plans for change.
Together with CREAM, CEFORD, VEDCO and ESAFF Uganda, PELUM Uganda is currently implementing a project aimed at sustainably empowering partner organisations in the use of the GALS methodology. the The 14-months project is being implemented in the West Nile region and targets reaching over 7500 beneficiaries by the end of December 2015. PELUM has also been able to include GALS in its gender policy, funding proposals and programme activities as a key methodology for mainstreaming gender.