"As an individual you can easily be broken. When you are many, you are much stronger!"
The General Secretary of the UCA started off the Workshop on Small Holder Farmer Aggregation Models, with a great visual and practical excercise: 2 participants were invited to the front and were challenged to break 1 single cattle stick in half, they were asked to do this again and again until they had many (smaller) sticks. The more sticks they had to break, the more difficult the task became. These sticks represented the farmers and how together as a group they stand much stronger when facing challenges.
This workshop follows a study, conducted by VECO East Africa, into the different type of business models used by farmer organizations in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Its purpose was to share the findings of the study and, even more importantly, to ask for feedback and additional input from various players in the agricultural sector.
Different key note speakers reassessed the importance of farmers to unite, form cooperatives and market their products collectively. Many of the advantages were discussed elaborately. Mainly the possibilities for value addition after bulking, for certification as a group and for better access to inputs and credit were mentioned.
For example, Dr. Walusimbi, researcher at ESAMI and CEO of SINFA, referred to a study conducted in the Kilimanjaro region which proved the value of certification. Certified groups recorded an increase in yield of 16%. They also managed to get a higher average price (1,8%) for their products.