Uganda, 8 June 2015 – Investments by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to improve the agricultural practices and business potential of smallholder farmers in Uganda are showing impressive results, the organization said today.
“WFP is providing over 1,000 farmer groups with critical information, skills and modern tools which enable them to access the quality grain market,” said Michael Dunford, WFP’s acting country representative. “By building warehouses and establishing local storage facilities, WFP has increased grain storage capacity in Uganda by more than 25,000 metric tons and helped to stimulate trading.”
WFP has invested over US$32 million in infrastructure and training to assist smallholder farmer groups in Uganda since 2009.
Agriculture and market support are among WFP’s priorities in Uganda and complement government initiatives to improve grain quality and increase production.
“Smallholder farmers in Uganda are often unable to access formal markets as the quality of the grain often suffers from inadequate storage and handling practices,” Dunford added.
WFP has been working with farmers and the private sector to improve storage facilities and provide modern grain processing equipment to clean and bag the grain and ensure farmers can access markets beyond the farm gate.
In the past six years, WFP has built or refurbished nine large warehouses in Gulu, Jinja, Soroti, Kasese, Kapchorwa, Lira and Masindi, and established 46 community storage facilities.
WFP trained more than 16,000 farmers in 27 districts and facilitated the purchase of 62,000 pieces of grain storage equipment for households in 2014. The investment is yielding results. Farmer groups who sell their grain through established grain stores have been selling it at a premium, more than twice the market average. Last year WFP bought over 41,000 metric tons of food, at a cost of US$ 17.5 million, from small scale farmer groups as well as grain traders throughout Uganda.
WFP’s support is aligned with the National Agriculture Policy and objectives of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) which is committed to improving rural infrastructure and trade-related capacities for market access.
The United States has funded more than 60 percent of WFP’s agricultural and market support initiatives in Uganda over the last six years, and critical support has also been provided by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Germany, Japan and the UN Peace Building Fund.