Risk and Sustainable Crop Intensification among Small-holder Rice and Potato Farmers in Uganda;  

By  Bjorn Van Campenhout

Summary

Like many low income countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, Uganda is an overwhelmingly agrarian society, with 72 percent of the working population engaged in agriculture. Persistently high fertility and rapid urbanization means yields need to increase without further exhausting available resources. The use of modern inputs, such as synthetic nitrogen fertilizers and high yielding cultivars, together with access to appropriate technology, is often touted as the best way to increase crop yields. Farming in sub-Saharan Africa is a risky business because of its dependence on natural climatic conditions, and it is often argued that the use of such modern inputs exposes poor households to even more risk. Farmers already use a host of risk management and risk coping strategies to deal with this risk. Perceived risk associated with the use of modern inputs adds to this risk, and risk avoidance and inability to take on risk is key to understanding lack of sustained intensification.

Download the full Technical Brief here.

Risk

 

How does credit affect Yields? Lessons from Potato and Rice growing

By  Bjorn Van Campenhout

Summary

Despite favorable agro-ecological conditions, agricultural productivity in Uganda remains low. Crop intensification methods, such as the application of inorganic fertilizers and pesticides and the use of improved planting material, are promoted for increasing yields. But farmers are often financially constrained, leading to under-adoption of such methods.
Therefore, facilitating credit provision to smallholder farmers may be an effective way to increase crop intensification and boost agricultural yields. We find that among potato and rice farmers part of the credit received indeed seems to affect productivity through intensification. However, a large share of credit is used for other purposes, such as paying school fees or investing in businesses or social functions. We argue that this fungibility is not necessarily problematic, as we find important indirect effects, where credit affects yields through improved agricultural knowledge transfer, market access, and social network learning effects. Our findings call for a more comprehensive approach to credit provision and a longer run perspective.

Download the full Brief here

CREDIT cover

 

Closing the yield gap in Rice Production-Water management yield gap in Rice production

By  Lydia Wairegi

Summary

About 67% of rice grown in Uganda is grown in the lowlands (MAAIF, 2012).  In the lowlands, about 60% and 10% of rice produced is grown under rainfed and irrigated conditions, respectively (MAAIF, 2012) with the rest grown in the uplands. The area under rained lowland and irrigated lowland rice production was estimated to be 43,406 and 5000 ha, respectively, in 2008 (MAAIF, 2012).  The rice yields are estimated to average 2.4 t/ha and 3.0 t/ha in rainfed and irrigated lowlands, respectively (MAAIF, 2012) yet yields can reach 8t/ha with good practices (Zingore et al., 2014). According to estimates by Kikuchi et al. (2014), about 50% of the rice produced in Uganda is grown in Eastern Uganda. About 25% of the rural households in the region are poor.

Download the full Brief here

Picture Water management

Stimulating Agricultural Technology Adoption – Lessons from Fertilizer Use among Ugandan Potato Farmers

By Lydia Nazziwa Nviiri

Summary

We report on research that explored plot level, household level, and institutional level characteristics to uncover correlations that can guide the design of policies and incentives that are likely to increase agricultural technology adoption. We use data from about 1,880 potato plots cultivated by 500 randomly selected potato growers in South Western Uganda. The results show that the factors associated with the decision to use fertilizer are often different from  hose associated with the decision on how much fertilizer to use, and that the characteristics correlated with fertilizer adoption differ between asset-poor and asset-rich farmers. These differences call for specific policy recommendations.

Download the full Brief here

PIC Stimulating Agricultural Technology Adoption

Indicative Lost Income due to Limited Technology use in Irish Potato Production

By Swaibu Mbowa 

Summary

Low Irish potato yields negatively affects growth of the agriculture economy, and consequently the incomes of population dependent on potato production in Kigezi sub-region. The low yields are largely driven by non-adoption of productivity enhancing technologies – fertilizer, improved seed, and agro chemicals. Estimates from IITA agronomic survey data indicate that use of high quality seed with fertilizer increases potato yield from 6.4 MT per hectare to 16.5 MT per hectare, which leads to an increase in potato production, at national level, from 867 thousand metric tons to 2,234 thousand MT annually. This would increase by 157% fold the monetary value potatoes produced from Ugx 628 billion (USD 187 million) to Ugx 1,619 billion (USD 484 million) per annum. The estimated loss of potential income by farmers is approximately Ugx 991 billion (U$ 298 million). The loss is due to limited intensification, such as low application of fertilizer and improved seed, at the production level of the value chain. Further analysis of profit margins along the potato value chain suggest that commercialization, and value addition are income enhancing.

Download the full Brief here

PIC Indicative-lost income in_Irish Potato_Production

 

The Constraints to Irish Potato Value Chain Financing in Uganda

By Francis Mwesigye

Summary

This brief summarises the findings from the potato Value chain study on what constrains the financing of potato value chain activities in Kigezi sub-region1. Access to affordable finance remains a challenge to potato producers, input dealers, marketers and processors in Uganda. The key constraints to accessing credit from formal financial institutions are long loan application processes and collateral requirements. On the other hand, under capitalization and high interest rates limit the capacity of in-formal credit sources to satisfy credit demands of the value chain actors. The value chain study results show that a majority of value chain actors rely on personal savings and small loans from informal credit sources. Most potato traders, and small-scale processors obtain loans from village savings and loan associations (VSLAs). Only 17% of potato producers, and less than 30% of agro input dealers use formal sources of finance from commercial banks despite the low interest rates charged relative to the informal VSLAs. The consequences of limited financing of value chain actors are low productivity and technology adoption at farm level which affect the business growth in potato trading and processing. Therefore to unlock and deepen agricultural financing, formal financial institutions can leverage on both capitalization capacity and the relatively low interest rates to design credit packages for agricultural value chain actors with shorter loan application processes.

Download the full Brief here

 

Why Strong Farmer Groups are Ideal in the Marketing of Rice in Eastern Uganda

By Mildred Barungi

Summary

Avenues for marketing rice in three districts of Butaleja, Tororo, and Bugiri in Eastern Uganda are studied based on data collected from a community and market survey. Survey results reveal that majority of farmers sell their rice to traders and middlemen, followed by processors and individual consumers. Consistently, relatively high prices are earned when rice marketing is undertaken in groups across all the three districts, and premium prices are realised from improved rice varieties like WITA9 grown by only 26 percent of the farmers. This demonstrates proof that there are income benefits from economies of scale in rice marketing that accrue to farmers that opt to market their rice as a group. However, the majority (over 79%) of farmers still operate as individuals. The study establishes that there are overriding considerations at community level (like urgent need to offset personal needs, lack of information, and limited group storage infrastructure) that weaken farmer groups for bulk marketing, hence sending farmers to operate as individuals. This leads to loss of farm income, and keeps farmers perpetually in poverty; and makes the case stronger to expedite the implementation of government projects such as the “produce storage facilities development project”, spelt out in the Second National Development Plan (NDP II) in the predominately rice growing Eastern Uganda. The findings further strengthen the case for reviving farmers’ cooperative societies in the country.

Download the full Brief here

PIC Why Strong Farmers Groups are Ideal

Addressing Knowledge Gaps in Rice Growing in Eastern Uganda

By Bjorn Van Campenhout

Summary

Rice is becoming increasingly important for Ugandan farm households, both as a cash crop and staple food. Rice production in Uganda increased from about 110,000 tons in 2000 to about 237,000 tons in 2014 and the share of rice in total consumption also grew over time. Previous research as part of the PASIC project, a policy action project funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Uganda and led by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries (MAAIF) with support of IFPRI, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), and the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC), suggests that a lack of knowledge may be an important constraint to sustainable intensification among rice growers in eastern Uganda. In-deed, rice growing is a complex activity that requires substantial technical and managerial know-how. Successful rice growing involves a range of activities, such as leveling of fields, construction of bunds and canals, sowing in nurseries, transplanting, water and nutrient management, threshing, drying, winnowing, and milling. To get high yields, all of these activities need to be performed according to recommended practices and at particular points in time. In addition, rice growing involves complex inter-temporal decision making, where money and labor invested today needs to be compared to uncertain earnings in the future. Hence, farmers need to be informed about, for instance, the cost of fertilizer and the expected return to its use on rice, or about the expected benefits of investing time in field preparation.

Download the full Brief here

 

Supply of Improved Rice Seed in Eastern Uganda: The gap and required investment

By Tonny Odokonyero

Summary

This brief explains the challenges limiting use of improved rice seed in three Eastern Uganda major rice growing districts. Insufficient supply of improved seed is a core constraint to intensification in rice production. There are only four rice seed producers in the three study districts, which renders rice seed to be the hardest input to access by farmers compared to fertilizer, herbicides, and fungicides. Rice seed inaccessibility is further compounded by producers having contractual obligations with external seed companies. The volume of seed required by farmers exceeds the supply capabilities of the four seed producers, creating a gap in the rice seed supply chain. Furthermore, the seed producers rarely multiply the varieties grown by farmers, but rather those demanded by seed companies outside the region. The estimated seed supply gap is about 90 percent of what farmers would require. Therefore, in order to meet local farmer’s requirement for improved rice seed, at least 40 new seed production enterprises should be established and this is estimated to cost slightly over one billion Uganda shillings (US $ 300,000).

Download the full Brief here

The Seed Potato Gap in Uganda: An Investment Opportunity, and a Challenge for Value Addition

By Swaibu Mbowa

Summary

Shortage in seed potato is identified as a major problem affecting quality potato production in the Kigezi sub-region. The shortfalls in supply has two dimensions: (i) the limited volumes of clean seed produced, and (ii) inadequacies in the supply of the right potato varieties – to support industrial level processing of potato into crisps and quality frozen chips. A mix of both primary and secondary (FAOstat) data are used to quantify the volumes and value of basic seed potato produced through the certified sources: the Kachwekano Zonal Agricultural Research Development Institute (KAZARDI), and the private foundation seed potato multipliers. Currently it is estimated that the country needs to produce about 25,400 metric tons of quality seed worth Ugx 28.1 Billion (US$ 8.2 million) which is about 34 percent of the required amounts. In addition, some of the seed supplied by private seed producers is of low quality; only 47 percent of the seed multipliers are registered, which points to the weaknesses in the seed regulatory system.

Download the full Brief here

Informality of actors and its implications for Potato Value Chain upgrading in Uganda

By Swaibu Mbowa

Summary

This brief summarizes the findings of the potato value chain study on the following factors; level of informality, size of operation and the length of relationships between the processors, traders and other value chain players. The study reveals that most potato value chain actors operate on a very small scale and are informal- not registered and unlicensed. For instance, 70% of the interviewed agro-input dealers are small scale retailers and about 60% of agro-input dealers are not registered. Also, only 3% of traders are registered and 13% have trade licenses. Whereas 67% of processors have trade licenses, only 13% are registered. These findings suggest that there is a high level of informality in the sector. Business informality is costly to the government and to the public in terms of lost tax revenue and health and safety risk due to non-regulation and non-standardization. In addition, the high level of informality constrain value chain actors from obtaining formal credit and other sources for funding as they are not legal entities. Informality stems from cumbersome procedures and high cost of registering a business . On the other hand, some business owners prefer to operate informally so as to evade taxes. Therefore, to enhance registration, the government should shorted the process and reduce the cost.

Download the full Brief here

Household decision making and SCI in South Western Uganda: the Case of Potato

By Pamela Pali

Summary

This brief focuses on the gender differences in crop intensification based on data collected from 487 potato farming households in the South Western Uganda. Findings reveal that gender differences in access to extension and in decision making at both household and plot level matter in the adoption of potato intensification technologies. Specifically, about 17% and 50% of the female headed households compared to 38% and 71% for male headed households were found to be using fertilizers and chemicals respectively. These observed differences could be explained by the gender differences in access to extension by 26% of the female headed households compared to 32% for male headed households. At plot level, there was more use of fertilizer and chemicals for plots where men made the decisions on where to sale potatoes and how to use the sales revenue. These results suggest the need to address the extension and training services needs of women farmers, (especially the older and less educated women) through tailor made extension approaches and packages. Furthermore, creating gender awareness among both men and women, and promoting collective action among women is more likely to improve the decision making abilities of women farmers.

Download the full Brief here

Constraint to Chemical fertilizer use among potato farmers in Southwestern Uganda

By Lydia Nazziwa-Nviiri

Summary

Uganda is currently facing a food supply challenge due to increasing population, limited opportunities to increase arable land, and declining yields associated with continuously declining soil fertility. Increments in aggregate crop production have been mainly achieved through expansion of cultivated land rather than increased investment in production technologies. However, due to the increasing population growth, further expansion of cultivated land will be impossible. In order to increase agricultural productivity, there is need to improve soil fertility management through increased use of fertilizer, use of quality seed together with improved farm management practices. This brief addresses fertilizer use in Uganda using a case study of potato production systems.

Download the full Brief here

Participatory Action Research Facilitates Policy Change for Sustainable Crop Intensification in Uganda

By Mastewal Yami

Summary

The government of Uganda emphasizes the need for increased investment in sustainable crop intensification (SCI) for food security, increased income, and improved rural livelihoods.
Accordingly, the government development and partners collaborate in creating an enabling environment through the development of national policies on seed, fertilizer and agricultural extension reform. The development of the national policies has importance in guiding the investments made by different stakeholders including development partners and private sector to achieve SCI. However, national policies in Uganda take a long time to be developed and be implemented. Quite often actors in districts and lower level local councils do not have access to policy processes at national level. Thus, policy actors need to develop bylaws to address challenges that hamper SCI at local level and to put in place enforcement mechanisms. Thus, supporting policy processes at local level is important to address the key challenges to achieve SCI.

Download the full Brief here

Tradeoffs in Seed Potato Systems in Southwestern Uganda

By Wilberforce Walukano

Summary

We studied the risks associated with the potato seed systems in Uganda. Data were collected from 283 potato farming households in Southwestern Uganda on the households’ seed source, seed recycling frequency and average gross potato yield (Ya). Eighty eight per cent of the surveyed households obtained their seed from the informal seed system. However, farmers recycle seed for about four times before renewing their seed stock; hence seed from informal sources is degenerated. Consequently, average gross yields for households who sourced seed from informal sources was 12.6 t ha-1 compared to 18.5 t ha-1 and 17.3 t ha-1 from formal seed sources and community based seed sources, respectively, that were used by only 1.4% and 10.2% of the surveyed households. Although higher yields were realized from seed obtained from formal seed system, seed from this source is expensive and limited in availability. We argue for an increased investment in and support for community based seed systems as a short term strategy to increase the availability, accessibility and affordability of quality seed potato in Uganda.

Download the full Brief here

PASIC Multilevel research findings Fact Sheet.

By Pamela Pali

Summary

This Fact sheet summarises the  key messages that were generated through the multilevel research that included agronomic studies, household survey, value chain studies and policy and institutional studies. It also highlights the evidence upon which the message was developed and the proposed interventions.

Download the full document here

Potato value chain actors that participated in the feedback workshop