13/10/23

Ugandan Smallholder Farmer Livelihoods Initiative

 

In Uganda, coffee and sesame play a significant role in the country’s economy, with over 2 million smallholder farmers relying on these crops for their primary income. However, many of these farmers still live below the poverty line because of low farm productivity, poor produce quality, and limited access to the market. These issues persist due to recurring challenges including rudimentary farming practices, low compliance with international quality standards, low-quality inputs (for example seeds), and poor infrastructure.

 

To mitigate some of these challenges, in May 2023, Kawacom Uganda Limited entered a partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Africa Trade and Investment activity (ATI) to implement a three-year project, titled “Uganda smallholder farmer livelihoods Initiative.” This partnership targets increasing Ugandan exports of coffee and sesame sustainably and significantly, particularly to the United States as a high-growth potential export market. 

 

To achieve this goal, five primary objectives have been set which include; supply chain expansion by connecting 5,000 new coffee farmers and 5,000 new sesame farmers to the export market; facilitation of Organic and Rainforest Alliance certification for the 10,000 farmers to improve farmgate value and access to international markets; capacity building of 30,000 coffee and sesame farmers to improve yield and quality for supply to the international markets; establishment of three new sesame seed multiplication centers to propagate higher yielding, and drought resistant seed varieties; and upgrading of the supply chain infrastructure and processing equipment to drive efficiency in processing and storage. 

 

This project will significantly upscale Kawacom’s business and improve our operations enabling the production of high-quality and increased quantities of certified produce to meet the market demands in the United States and other international destinations. At the end of the three-year implementation period, the company's exports are envisioned to increase by at least 4,884 MT, valued at $10,788,275. Coffee and sesame production will also increase by 4,080 MT and 804 MT respectively, increasing smallholder sales by $8,032,916, thus improving farmer incomes and livelihoods. In addition, 10,000 full-time equivalent jobs will be created along the coffee and sesame value chains. 

 

To date, 5,999 new sesame farmers and 5,823 new coffee farmers have been registered, and a total of 19,050 farmers have been reached and trained on good agronomic practices with an emphasis on proper post-harvest handling. 16,752 of those reached are currently undergoing certification for the Rainforest Alliance standard. 174 of the farms have been selected as demonstration farms that will be used as training venues to ensure continuous improvement among the different farmers.  Two sesame seed multiplication centers have also been established and these will provide high-quality seeds for the farmers in the next planting season which is anticipated to start in March 2024. These achievements are attributed to the robust implementing staff that was on-boarded to ensure the 100 percent achievement of set objectives under the project by the end of the implementation cycle.

 

 

Written by Rachael Ange

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