At present, the only crop for which we can find a ready market (at scale) is sorghum. In Aug 2019, the UCF is giving out 1.2 tons of white sorghum seed to ~400 farmers in Kamuli/Buyende. The agribusiness manager for Uganda Breweries, Joseph Kawuki, has also offered a guaranteed market for our sorghum. It will be the first time farmers in our region — who already have no market for other crops, and who aren’t part of any agricultural value chains — will access a mainstream market in the agri-food industry.
Providing farmers with sorghum seed and agronomic training will be continuous each subsequent planting season. From the initial village-to-village orientation that we are making now, the number of participating farmers is set to more than double in 2020. We aim to provide each beginning farmer with free inputs for the first 4 consecutive seasons. From that point on, each farmer buys their own inputs using incomes from the previous seasons, and the UCF switches to only helping them with market access.
In hindsight, the key underlying reason that keeps all small farmers in poverty in our region is the absence of reliable markets for our produce. So, by providing rural poor farmers with initial inputs, and pooling our produce to access reliable markets, we are both giving these farmers a hand-up, and placing them on a self-sufficient path from extreme poverty. See our project needs here. And see photos from this work below: