Increasing Small Scale Rural Maize Producers’ Revenues by Promoting Maize Value Addition and Collective Marketing in Kyegegwa and Kyenjojo Districts of Western Uganda
Rural people in Kyenjojo and Kyegegwa districts in western Uganda boast of favorable weather conditions favoring maize growing for two seasons in a year. Unfortunately, they do not benefit from it.
The districts of Kyenjojo and Kyegegwa in western Uganda boast of favorable weather conditions favoring maize growing for two seasons in a year. The local population in the two districts is primarily agricultural and therefore 90% of people derive their livelihood from farming, both crop growing and livestock. Maize growing is one of the major crop production, both for subsistence and income generation. In the newly created district of Kyegegwa, maize is grown heavily in Mpara Sub County; areas of Rwentuha, Bugido, Kazinga, Rwahunga, Migamba, and Bujubuli. In Kakabara (Migongwe, Kisojo and Kikyedo), parts of Kyegegwa (Kyegegwa) and Hapuyo (Isunga, Kijuma and Kigambo) Sub Counties. In Kyenjojo district, maize is heavily grown in areas of Rwibaale, Butunduuzi, Kisojo and Matiri in Kihura Sub County. However, rural farmers have continued to incur losses from maize production for a long time and de-motivated many into production of small quantities. ToroDev propose dedicated and deliberate activities under this project to support farmers expand production with corresponding increase in revenues to improve their household economic performance.
Background of ToroDev and Previous Projects in Agribusiness Enterprises Development in the Area:
ToroDev was established in 2005 as a community based NGO in Kabarole and Kyenjojo districts, and later-on became legally incorporated as a Private Company Limited by Guarantee (Registration No. 115419) in Uganda. Initially, ToroDev focused on sustainable community development through promoting the access and use of reliable and timely information that facilitates knowledge sharing, especially for entrepreneurial and small-scale rural agribusiness enterprises development. In doing this, ToroDev has been, for the past three years, cooperating with rural farmer groups in the above districts and later on in the newly created Kyegegwa district to improve production and marketing of main agricultural products like beans, groundnuts, maize, bananas, pineapples and local passion fruits.
ToroDev's most recently ended project; "Increasing small scale rural women farmers' revenues by using sustainable ICT for Development Production and Marketing tools in Kabarole and Kyenjojo districts" was among the 20 best projects out of 230 other projects in 2008 from the Africa, Pacific and the Carreabian/Latin America countries and was awarded a grant by the Association for Progressive Communications Women's Network (APC - WN) under the Gender, Agriculture and Rural Development in the Information Society (GenARDIS) initiative, in partnership with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural cooperation ACP-EU (CTA), for ICT training, development of relevant local content information and knowledge sharing materials on production and rural marketing system for small scale women farmers from five (5) rural agricultural producers and processor's groups in Kabarole and Kyenjojo districts.
Why seek to implement this project?
Under this project, ToroDev proposes to implement more activities to consolidate those initiated by the GenARDIS project above and also increase the number of participating rural farmers and their groups from 300 to 600 member and 5 to 10 groups, respectively, specifically strengthening the capacity of small scale rural maize farmers, focusing on "demand-driven production "for urban markets, and other value addition activities with actors who include local, urban processors and retailers or traders. The maize crop has been identified by ToroDev because of its multiplier effect: It serves both as a staple food and source of income for farmer's households in the targeted rural community. The rural farmers to be supported are from ten (10) producers and processors groups in Kyegegwa and Kyenjojo districts.
This project will also build on the previous training of small scale rural women farmers, through lobbying the support of their husbands and other men, in agribusiness planning and management for minimizing pre-harvest and post harvest losses, storage capacity improvement, access and use of rural and urban marketing information systems like InfoTrade/FIT-Uganda that connect rural maize farmers to better market opportunities in urban areas.
Rural small scale maize farmers, in Kyegegwa and Kyenjojo districts are facing poorest marketing conditions. This is characterized by selling their maize produce individually in small quantities, at very low prices and at inappropriate times of seasons. ToroDev's field findings show that many rural maize farmers in these areas even sell their produce in advance before harvesting, desperately in need of income for household needs, on a very flat fixed price to middlemen, who later sell at competitive prices to urban processors. For example, a kilogram of maize grain from a rural farmer last season reached three hundred and fifty shillings (250 Ugx) only, whereas the same kilogram of maize grain was selling at least eight hundred and fifty shillings (850 Ugx) and a kilogram of maize four at 1,500 Ugx in urban towns of Mbarara, Kampala and Mityana (InfoTrade/FIT-Uganda, Jan. 2010) This is because most of rural maize farmers are individually isolated from colleagues, rendering them limited "collective access" to urban markets and their produce primarily of low quality due to poor storage and harvest practices and is traditionally bought off by middlemen who heavily exploit them at very low prices.
We however believe that rural maize farmers in Kyenjojo and Kyegegwa districts have many opportunities to exploit, ranging from competitively and directly entering urban maize markets in Uganda and the region (Southern Sudan, Eastern DRC, Rwanda, Kenya and, Burundi etc.) if they are supported in the following areas; 1) organize themselves in sustainable rural farmer groups, 2) establish warehousing facilities and marketing centres, value addition for their maize produce to substitute individual and isolated marketing to collective marketing, and 3) build capacity in rural agribusiness enterprises planning, management and acquire financial/saving skills for developing rural micro banking facilities.
By June 2012, participating rural maize farmers in 10 groups in Kyegegwa and Kyenjojo districts increased from 300 to at least 600 and able to harvest high quality produce securely stored, for collective marketing, transforming into real improved rural agribusiness enterprises with sustainable rural microfinance facilities.
1. By the end of December 2010, 5 modern maize grain warehouses will be established and 5 marketing centres developed for collective storage and marketing of rural farmers' produce in well accessible locations within 2 districts.
2. By July 2011, training of at least 200 leaders from 10 rural farmers' groups in management, attracting more members especially rural women farmers, savings, rural agribusiness enterprises development and sustainability skills will have been conducted.
3. By April 2012, the 2 initiated rural farmers' MFIs will be strengthened and 3 more initiated to support farmers' savings and credit needs for the expansion of their rural agribusiness enterprises and promoting rural banking.
Direct Beneficiaries of the Project
This project will directly benefit 600 rural farmers organized in 10 producers' group in the newly created Kyegegwa district (in Mpara Sub County areas of Bugido, Rwahunga and Kisambya, Sweswe, Kabweza, Kakabara and Hapuyo sub counties) and in Kyenjojo district (in Kihuura Sub-county areas of Rwibaale and Butunduuzi) in western Uganda.
The current majority (63%) of the group members are men and the rest women. They live in remote villages where extension workers hardly reach and manual labor are commonly used. Feeder roads in these villages are hardly impassable, especially in the rainy seasons. Most of these farmers are illiterate or semi-illiterate, only able to read and write simple documents in local languages. Processing their harvested maize can only be done many miles away in urban and trading centres. The only advantage that these farmers have is the outreach of community radio FM frequencies and mobile telecom networks as the only sources of information, if used appropriately, for current market price information.
ToroDev will continue mainstreaming active participation of rural women to join maize producer groups and engage in commercial maize farming other than substance farming and just providing free labor on fields they cannot claim ownership. This project will build on the recent concluded project activities carried out by ToroDev to sensitize the men/husbands to support their wives in rural agribusiness enterprises development.
Brief Description of Areas of ToroDev's Intervention
1. Building 5 modern rural maize warehouses and 5 farmer groups' marketing centres.
The main needs of the rural maize farmers are access to better paying markets, enough safe and improved storage facilities, information on how much produce is demanded by buyers in a given urban market, how to reach the better paying urban markets and when to sell.
This activity will target to establish 5 warehouses for rural men and women in the remote villages, who are the producers of Maize. Each group currently has an average total of 40 active farmers organized in ten (10) producers' groups. The groups' purpose for existence is to help maize farmers learn from each other, organize labor as a pool in times of planting and harvesting, market their produce in groups and lobby for external support for their activities. Buyers of maize grain at a higher price and processors are very far a distance in urban centres; rural farmers face a problem of exploitation by middlemen. Therefore, establishing improved maize warehouses in areas accessible by transporters and processors will increase their bargaining and sale revenues. Rural farmers who use the warehouses to stock their maize produce will contribute to the maintainance and operations of the warehouses from the revenues received from their sales. The rural farmers will own and operate these warehouses through their groups
ToroDev will also develop 5 locations where some warehouses will be located into main maize marketing centres with appropriate marketing information system equipment to enhance capacity building for brokering contracts with buyers and processors. At each of the 5 marketing centres a medium Maize Milling machine will be installed and directly operated by farmers. This activity is expected to cost sixteen (16) million Uganda shillings (UGX) for it to be completed.
2. Promote and support sustainable rural farmers' microfinance initiatives in 5 collaborating groups.
ToroDev is initiating two microfinance initiatives within two rural maize producer ground in Kyegegwa district (in Kakabara and SIIMA group in Wekomire) where member rural farmers are making their own savings and credits.
The major activities for this initiative will be supporting the 5 rural farmers' MFIs get legal registration status, building capacity of the rural MFI staff to become more skilled and keep professional records, designing, developing and deploying appropriate financial and membership appraisal systems and linking the rural farmer's MFIs to other umbrella and capacity building institutions like Association of Microfinance Finance Institutions of Uganda and MSC (Microfinance Support Centre) for expansion and transforming into real and sustainable rural banking facilities. This rural banking/credit institutions will continue to support rural farmers income/capital needs to sustain their small scale agribusiness enterprises and also expand with time, since rural farmers themselves will be saving in the MFIs. More rural farmers will be mobilized to register with the MFIs so that they can be able to get support from government institutions and credit programmes like the Microfinance Support Centre (MSC) that has put emphasis to supporting rural MFIs with at least a membership of 500 farmers each. This activity will cost ToroDev up to seven (7) million Uganda shillings (UGX) to be completed.
3. Build the capacity of rural farmers in business & management skills for rural agribusiness enterprises development
ToroDev in collaboration with Community Agribusiness Capacity Services (CABCS) will engage in on-site practical agribusiness skills training for at least 200 rural maize farmers in the two districts. The trainings will cover improved intensive maize production, value addition and developing market chains with processors and wholesalers in urban markets in Uganda and the great lakes region. The rural farmers will also be trained in financial management skills, including savings and budgeting skills for their maize farm enterprises. Rural women farmers will be given priority for acquiring such skills. We are expecting to spend up to five (5) million while carrying out the above training activities.
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