Marketing of our farmers’ produce is the responsibility of the UCF. Yet, we now face a new challenge: fresh produce is subject to the most volatile markets. And so, we need to devise a scalable and resilient plan for marketing our farmers’ produce. Our next plan is to set up an agro-processing plant to do that, by turning our farmers’ produce into intermediate food products that can capture a wider market segment.
And, with a new focus on resilient markets through agro-processing, our new goal is to help farmers diversify their incomes, by adding value not only to ginger [which has been our sole focus crop], but to a wide range of crops that the local farmers are already producing, e.g. mangoes; pineapples; carrots; oranges; jackfruit; kale; papaya; cucumber etc. This will help our farmers diversify their incomes and escape poverty.
To provide local farmers with prototypes on crop protection and maintenance, the UCF has set up a training and demo center in Namisita, Kamuli. The center, with a large storehouse [seen above], is also our “collective marketing” point where all our farmers’ produce is gathered and then marketed under a single umbrella.
To cascade technical knowledge & skills to rural poor farmers at a grassroots level, the UCF has tapped a number of model farmers from each village. The model farmers provide peer-to-peer mentoring to new farmers; organize fellow farmers to ready their produce for collection, and coordinate all our outreaches in their villages.