Agriculture continues to be a key economic sector for Uganda – contributing 85% of export earnings and providing more than 70% of national employment Over 8.4 million people in Uganda living in extreme poverty are located in rural areas and depending on Agriculture. Compared with the rest of the economy however, agricultural growth is lagging, now accounting for only about 29% of GDP, compared with 46% during the 1990s.
In order to achieve a competitive advantage in the market place requires improved skills and knowledge, hard work, and trust among market chain actors. Accessing markets requires meeting changing demands from consumers and taking advantage of market trends at a price that the consumer finds attractive. To maintain a competitive advantage therefore, requires a sound business plan and enterprise management that is capable of making decisions based on dynamic information, such as consumer needs and market trends, and able to identify new market opportunities.
DIME intervention is a market-led approach based on the marketing philosophy, with the objective of enabling producers and agro-based enterprises in a given area to identify and access remunerative opportunities for existing or new products in existing or new markets. The approach focuses on increasing the income of MOs through products that have growth potential by building on the existing skills and resources of local communities, including farmers, processors, and traders. Three critical issues that are taken into consideration are: coordination with existing, local partners, the organization of existing SILCs into MOs, and the use of existing income-oriented products grown by most farmers in the targeted area.
A critical component of agro-enterprise development is the use of a participatory approach in all activities. Development at the community level empowers MOs and local service providers to develop new agro-enterprise options. These stakeholders participate at different levels, including decision-making, community level planning, the identification of market opportunities, experimentation, implementation, and scaling-up the intervention. Each of these sustainable improves the incomes of rural farmers, processors, and traders in a competitive manner.
Dime operates under the following goal and strategic Objectives;
Poor communities of rural, western Uganda have access to improved business development services.
Caritas Kasese is located in western Uganda in Kasese district; under social services and development department Catholic Diocese of Kasese. DIME is funded by Catholic Relief Services and is implemented by Caritas Kasese. Dime interventions are carried out in the seven sub counties of Kisinga, Kyarumba, Munkunyu, Karusandara, Kyabarungira, Kitswamba and Muhokya. DIME is a farmer driven approach that focuses on improving Farmers’ livelihoods through increased income and production.
The management structure includes the Coordinator, Finance Manager, Project marketing manager, data clerk and the Marketing Facilitators. The MFs are ten in number each with one Subcounty, However, there are some sub counties which are big in size and these are facilitated by two MFs and they include; Munkunyu, Kitswamba and Kyarumba.
Other programmes run by caritas Kasese include, Sustainable Agriculture, Gender and Development, Wetland management, SILC or Savings and Internal Lending Communities and DIME work hand in hand with SILC in order to increase savings from the Farmers’ produce.
Strategic objectives1. Strategic objective 1
Increased Agricultural productivity in poor communities of rural, western Uganda Kasese in particular.
1.1. Rural farmers adopt production and value addition Technology.
Most farmers have adopted production technologies and some others are still in the process of adopting to the value addition technologies. The following marketable enterprises were implemented as a result of DIME interventions in the seven sub counties where DIME operates.
|SUBCOUNTY|| ENTERPRISE |
From the above data, the maize Enterprise takes a lead in the selected marketing organizations where by at least each sub county has maize as an enterprise.
In some sub counties, some farmers selected coffee as an enterprise since it was the only crop that could be grown on commercial basis this is especially in Kyabarungira subcounty. The enterprises are selected by the farmers and facilitated by the Marketing Facilitator.
Summary of enterprises
Pie chart showing the Marketable EnterprisesSix marketable enterprises were implemented as a result of DIME interventions and from the above; the following percentages of farmers have been trained in production technologies and value addition from each subcounty.
On value addition, most members atleast can carry out some activities like sorting, threshing, winnowing and harvesting mature produce for quality products in which they were formerly ignorant to carry out. Some of these activities increase quality that would lead to increased profits to the farmers.
The MFs inspecting the Maize on bare ground on Value addition
All the Marketing Organizations have received training modules especially in production and Agronomic Technologies and as shown in the table below, there is an increase in the number of farmers adopting compared to last quarter.
The minimum number for a marketing organization is 35members thus DIME has 3180farmers and out of those, 2655(active) are adapting to production and value addition technologies, and all the 100 marketing organization Receive DIME assistances especially in linkages and advisory services in Agriculture through Trainings carried out by the Marketing Facilitators.
The table and the chart represent the percentages
|Subcounty||No of MOs||Total number||No. of Farmers adopting||Percentage |
The chart showing the percentages per subcounty1.2. Trade linkages provide improved access to Agricultural inputs.
Most Marketing Organizations are in the process of carrying out collective input procurement due to DIME interventions, out of the 100 MOs, 50of them carried out collective input procurement of materials such as seed and fertilizer giving a percentage of 50% of farmers using improved inputs as a result of DIME interventions. Most of these farmers used buy the inputs from local markets especially seed, but due to DIME interventions, some of them have started buying from recognized seed suppliers. most of these farmers are willing to procure together but they give an excuse of finance in that they don’t all get finances at once to enable them procure together.
Strategic objective 2Heightened competitiveness of marketable enterprises in poor communities of rural, western Uganda improves the region’s agro-enterprise sector
2.1. Target members of multiple SILCS are clustered into Functioning Mos
All the SILC members were clustered into functional marketing organizations, and we no longer call them groups. They are now marketing organizations. However in sub counties with 2MFs, SILC groups were few and they had to form other Groups that were not in SILC to make up the 10Mos required from each MF.
All the 100 Mos have gone through democratic elections and they now have marketing executives, on top of that, these leaders were trained in leadership skills and records management they have made Constitutions to Govern them, and this also is an indicator that these organizations meet registration requirements and others have started registering from the subcounty to the district. All the MOs went through enterprise selection facilitated by the MFs and the selected enterprises were implemented and all the Mos are implementing both business and action plans.
2.2 Trade capacity of Target Farmers and other market chain actors is increased
There is a big change or an increase in the percentage of farmers transitionining from subsistence to market oriented production, actually most farmers are now carrying out farming as a business. About 75 percent of the farmers are changing from Subsistence to Farming as a business; this is evidenced by the increase in production from the marketable enterprises as a result of DIME interventions. Six MEs are benefiting from DIME interventions where by demonstration sites were set up to act as learning sites for the farmers all the marketing organizations are benefiting directly from the interventions.
2.3Investments in ME by Farmers and market chain actors is increased
The farmers’ investments in MEs have increased in all the marketable enterprises that were implemented by the 100 marketing organizations receiving DIME support to invest in the six marketable enterprises. Due to the change from subsistence to commercial, the farmers’ investments had to increase in order to increase production.
2.4Market linkages between farmers, producers, processors, transporters, storage enterprises, markets and consumers improve ME market access.
There is an increase in the Market linkages from the different market chain actors especially in the selected marketable enterprises basically in sunflower to Kyempara farmers, Kyabarungira farmers for coffee, Kasese buyers for maize and beans, Uganda commodities exchange for maize, (five in number). On top of that, some marketable organizations sold to identified buyers after bulking their produce. Most MOs have been linked to other players in the markets especially to seed suppliers. Other organizations that DIME is linked to include, Mubuku Farmers, provide agronomic and seed suppliers, Ibuga prisons Farm, provide information on commercial farming.
Strategic objective 3
3. Poor communities of rural, western Uganda have access to improved business development services.
3.1Members of MOs use SILC savings to finance ME investments.
Most marketable organizations use SILC savings to invest in marketable enterprises however, there are some MOs that were selected not in SILC and these use other savings from other sources to invest in DIME interventions and most farmers borrow from SILC for investments in MEs though there is less savings by most farmers.
3.2. Mos receive Agro enterprise development training modules.
The Table below is a summary of the modules and number of MOs
|Number of Mos trained in organization and Mgt||100|
|Number of Mos trained in marketing business skills||100|
|Number of Mos trained in SILC||100|
|Number of Mos trained in innovation &experimentation||100|
|Number of Mos trained in selected enterprise production||100|
The MFS tasting some Value added products and checking the MO records
3.3Rural farmers have improved access to market information.
Due to DIME interventions, most rural farmers are improving their accessibility to market information. This is carried out by both the MFs and the farmers themselves. Most farmers can now tune in to Agricultural radio programmes and news from the radios with Agricultural programmes due to DIME. Bwera information center provide Agricultural information which we also deliver to the Farmers. The farmers also can obtain updates via their phones.
The main activities for the next quarter are attached in appendix 1.The monitoring and evaluation exercise is due to take place in the months of late November and mid December.
Challenges and way forwardInadequate market for most selected marketable enterprises especially for Maize and the low prices offered to the Farmers even after bulking where by they do not receive the cash in time and yet the receipt system is not yet done by the ware houses, this affects especially the farmers who sold to Uganda commodity exchange through Nyakatonzi.
Gender mainstreaming is still a challenge where by the turn for men is still low during the meetings yet the men are the sole source/owners of land if we are to increase production, so there id still need to attract more men into the marketing organizations.
Some SILC groups as the entry points, had less number of members not meeting the minimum of DIME where by 30 members for SILC and this affected the DIME minimum of35 members, yet most of these SILC groups do not want to revise their Guiding Principles, on top of that, some SILC groups still have young children (minors) and old women and these reduce production.
The misconception of the information to the farmers at fast that they would be supplied with seed, tractors and fertilizers especially in Kitswamba Sub County by some silc agents and the silc supervisors, this greatly made some farmers to withdraw from the MOs because their objectives were not met and this also reduces production.
Most Mos are located in hilly and mountainous areas and this has made it hard for the MFs to reach the MOs in time .this is also due to the Topography of the district thus the bicycles could not do much for efficient transport.
The meeting time for the MOs at the same time, same day and at different locations and this affects the MFs to articulate the required service to the intended people on top of that they meet for DIME and savings on the same day.
Prolonged draught in some subcounty especially in Karusandara, Heavy rains especially in Kyarumba subcounty and this has caused a lot of floods washing away the crops and earth quakes which have also affected crops.
Delay in remittance of funds also affected the activities in that some seminars that were supposed to take place were not carried in time out. This also delayed the construction of demonstration sites for the farmers.
Inadequate inputs by the farmers such as seed has made them plant small portions of land otherwise they are willing to cultivate big chunks of land. On top of that, there is still a challenge of inadequate market information flow due to limited access to market information systems. A gender relationship in MOs is still low since the most focused groups were mainly women groups.
The farmers move long distances for farming activities and most of them shift to the farm places and this reduces their turn for training on meeting days.
Diseases especially Malaria and HIV/ AIDS are also a problem to some of our MOs. This limits on the activity flow of duties in production, and these two disease have increase death tall among our communities ,these burials reduce the number of members who turn up for trainings and thus in turn reduce production.
There are poor Means of storage systems in all the sub counties and this affects the quality of stored products for the farmers and also due to inadequate storage structures, the farmers end up getting low prices because they can not store for some long period of time and they tend to sell early. Thus need to upgrade the stores that can be used by our MOS especially one in a sub-county.
Conclusion DIME is on ground and fully operating in the seven subroutines with 100 marketing organizations and is there to eradicate poverty through increased Production and income that would lead to development and we appreciate Catholic Relief Services (CRS Uganda) for the support towards Caritas DIME project to improve Rural Farmers Lives and we hope the project will expand to other districts and sub counties.