The UCF has so far given out 3,840 kg of ginger rhizomes to 38 farmers’ groups, comprising 336 farmers. Individuals get 20 kg of rhizomes each. Groups receive 100 kg of rhizomes per group. At harvest, each farmer or group passes on the exact quantity of seed (that they initially received) to a new farmer—and the cycle continues!
Most smallholder farmers in Uganda own 1 – 2 acres of land. Many have even smaller sizes. These farmers cannot sell their produce to larger buyers, as these buyers only need producers that can provide large tonnages on a sustained basis. By pooling together our farmers’ produce and marketing it under a single umbrella, we are creating a combined production that can attract such buyers. This helps the small farmers to get better prices and high-value markets that they couldn’t access before.
At this point, though, we face a completely new challenge: fresh agricultural produce is subject to the most volatile market conditions. As such, we have to devise a scalable and resilient plan for marketing our farmers’ fresh produce. Our current plan therefore is to set up an agricultural processing plant whose purpose is to create resilient markets for the local farmers’ produce — through value-addition.
And, with our new focus on creating resilient markets through value-addition, our new goal is to help farmers diversify their incomes, by adding value to a wide range of crops that the local farmers are already producing, such as mangoes; pineapples; carrots; beets; oranges; jackfruit; papaya; kale; cucumber etc—not just ginger [which has been our focus crop]. This will help our farmers diversify their incomes and escape poverty.