WFP: More Smaller Holder Farmers Supplying Improved Grain

2648 Views Iganga, Uganda

In short
Rebecca Mukyala, a farmer under Nambale Farmers Organisation in Iganga district, says they came together as a group of 156 farmers and gathered 40 tons of maize for sale to WFP. She says initially they had challenges in regards to handling the produce due to pests, but with the good storage practices they succeeded.

The quality of farm produce supplied by small scale farmers in Uganda has improved due availability of market and capacity building, the World Food Program has noted.
 
At least 250,000 small scale farmers and leaders have received training from WFP on improving their productivity, post-harvest handling and collective marketing leading to improved quality of grains and seeds.
 
In the past, Ugandan farmers struggled to meet standards like maintaining a certain moisture content and particular grain size leading to the rejection of their produce. Some of the problems were blamed on poor storage and poor post-harvest handling.
 
Lydia Wamala, the WFP Communications Officer, says the farmers have increased their knowledge on airtight household storage equipment because of the training offered by WFP, saying the provision of subsidized post-harvest loss equipment like Silos and bags and establishment of 60 community warehouses in 29 districts has helped the farmers a great deal.
 
"The training modules include value addition, warehouse management, business planning, financing and governance. Selling produce as a group has advantage of gaining negotiation power and attracting bulk buyers, WFP encourages farmers to engage in collective marketing, and empowers them with knowledge and skills to run their agricultural operations as a business" Wamala said.
 
In 2016 alone, WFP bought 5,400 metric tons of produce worth USD 1.7 million from small holder farmers groups in the country. Rebecca Mukyala, a farmer under Nambale Farmer's Organisation in Iganga district, says they came together as a group of 156 farmers and gathered 40 tons of maize for sale to WFP. She says initially they had challenges in regards to handling the produce due to pests, but with the good storage practices they succeeded.
 

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Although a kilogram of Maize in the open market costs Shillings 850, the farmers sell it to WFP at Shillings 1200. Ronald Weseyo, another farmer says sometimes farmers harvest immature maize to make quick money, which compromises quality.
 


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Christine Keny, a member of Nambale Farmer's Association says she expects to reap big from her two acres maize garden since WFP has accepted to buy it.
 


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About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.