Strengthening the horticulture sector in Uganda and Tanzania to fight rural poverty.

Strengthening the horticulture sector in Uganda and Tanzania to fight rural poverty.

Horticulture is one of the few opportunities for small scale farmers to find a route out of poverty and this can be seen by many farmers converting from staple crops and traditional cash crops to horticulture.

Context

Uganda and Tanzania have climatic conditions with high potential for producing flowers, fruits and vegetables and other horticultural crops. High potential areas for horticultural crops production include the areas where Rikolto currently operates (Eastern Uganda and Northern Tanzania). Uganda had a more developed horticulture sector but this has now been constrained by poor sector coordination and food safety issues preventing access to markets such as Europe. Tanzania by contrast has grown rapidly spearheaded by a dynamic horticulture association (TAHA) which has been and is well funded by donors and supported by Government.

Horticulture is one of the few opportunities for small scale farmers to find a route out of poverty and this can be seen by many farmers converting from staple crops and traditional cash crops to horticulture. However fruit and vegetables need to reach the market as soon as possible after the harvest. This leads to particular challenges for the sector and for farmers to be able to profit, chains need to be organised as efficiently as possible. These challenges are explained further below.

Challenges

  • Inadequate access to improved planting materials (seeds, seedlings and cuttings) and other inputs e.g. fertilizer, pesticide;
  • Limited knowledge of production practices and inputs, due to inadequate research and extension services;
  • Unorganized marketing system resulting in quality deterioration and huge post-harvest losses;
  • Inadequate storage, processing facilities and packing technology, which in turn create gluts and severe shortages of these items during off season;
  • Lack of low cost, high quality packaging materials.
  • The poor state of the feeder roads also leads to significant losses during transportation to markets
  • Policies which do not encourage investment especially those related to land and taxes.

There is also an additional challenge (as well as opportunity). Climate variability is encouraging investment in irrigation, for which horticulture is well suited. However as studies have shown in the Pangani Water Basin (Northern Tanzania) the uncontrolled expansion of irrigation can exacerbate water stress and cause severe problems for downstream users.

Strategies/Actions

Enable Farmer Organisations to access structured trading systems

  • Support farmer organisations and Horticulture Associations to pilot inclusive business models which enable access to formal and informal /wholesale markets.

  • Support Horticulture Associations to work with ICT providers and innovators to enhance and expand the ICT systems for market information sharing, trading and accessing services .

Support institutionalisations of new approaches for Farmer Business Organisation capacity development

  • Pilot new approaches as part of Rikolto’s work with the Agribusiness Market Ecosystems Alliance e.g. the ICRA approach for supporting business cluster development. This will lead to more effective and sustainable ways of building capacity of Farmer Organisations and their business partners within a geographic area i.e. a cluster of businesses.

  • Support Horticulture Associations to develop and facilitate access to a pool of independent business development services to provide training in all kind of business activities (bookkeeping, management, marketing…). We focus on providing opportunities for rural youth.

  • Support development and test commercially viable and sustainable management models for farmers’ business organizations.

  • Supporting development of Food Safety standards and use of Good Agricultural Practices.

  • Supporting Arusha Safe Food Initiative.

  • Assessing environmental sustainability gaps and developing multi-actor environmental management plans to address critical issues (this includes the Irrigation Financing work with the Tanzania Horticulture Association which will address soil and water management)

Targets

Rikolto Uganda and Tanzania currently work with over 3,000 horticulture farmers to support inclusive business development.

Results

Rikolto established a partnership with Uganda Fruits and Vegetable Processors Association and is building on the strong results achieved in the past with Tanzania Horticulture Association. Together with these partners a fresh assessment of business opportunities has been conducted and business clusters have been chosen and initiated. These multi-stakeholder processes are expected to bring about coordinated action to enable the business potential to be realized. The clusters chosen contain a mixture of continued work with current farmer organization partners (e.g. MUVIKHO in Tanzania and Kwapa in Uganda) and new farmer organization partners.

TAHA

TAHA

Uganda Fruits and Vegitable Exporters Association

Agribusiness Advisor

Eliudi Doto Ng'umbi

Agribusiness Advisor

Peter Businda

Senior Agribusiness Advisor

Shukuru Tweve