Farmers with their potato produce at the market.
In May 2015, Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) conducted rice and potato value chain surveys in eastern and south western Uganda.
The value chain approach tracks best practices and key binding constraints affecting different actors along the value chain, and identifying investment opportunities that address these constraints.
A mix of key informant interviews and focus group discussions were used to understand and to:
- Identify existing market gaps and opportunities for engaging in the value chains;
- Describe, map and quantify the flow of products, which guides the selection of potential buyers and develop strategies for upgrading, and identify the most binding constraints at all levels of the value chain.
The value chain findings will be integrated in the Investment Plan to identify opportunities for both the public and private sector to invest in areas that provide high rates of returns; and remove bottle necks for investment along the value chain in input and output markets.
Key areas of interventions identified during the study include:
- Investment in the seed subsector i.e. the seed investment plans to fill up the vacuum for the need of screen houses to produce foundation seed, more seed multipliers to bridge the seed gap and regulation to curtail sale of counterfeits in agro-inputs.
- Increased investments in potato value addition: research to develop technologies tailored to specific potato varieties, availability of processing infrastructure such as milling machines for the rice subsector, and capacity building for small scale processors.
- Investment in post-harvest storage facilities both at individual and community level to reduce post-harvest losses and encourage group marketing.
- Improved access to cheap sources of credit by small scale farmers through amendment of Agricultural Credit Facility Scheme, and more direct engagement of Non-Governmental Organization in linking informal savings groups to formal institutions.
- Investment in crop insurance and other measures of combating risk and uncertainty among farmers such as irrigation.
- Standardized unit of potato measurement to deter traders from exploiting farmers by determining potato price according to size of bag vis-à-vis actual quantity.
Realization of these interventions requires the implementation of relevant policies which include the fertilizer, seed and extension policies, and closing the gaps in agricultural and land policies.
The data is at the cleaning stage, after which analysis and report writing will follow documenting the best farming practices in different zones for the respective crops. Findings will then be shared with PASIC partners such as Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) and other stakeholder in the policy arena to feed into the potato and rice Investment Plans and also help in district planning for the full benefit of value chain actors including the smallholders.