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USAID agricultural project creates jobs, increases exports

By Chris Kiwawulo

Added 20th October 2017 01:44 PM

Dubbed ‘Feed the Future Uganda Commodity Production and Marketing Activity’, the project has since March 2013, worked to increase the production and marketing of key agricultural commodities.

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The project specifically targets coffee, maize and beans—in order to improve incomes for smallholder farmers and their families.

A United States Agency for International Development (USAID) agricultural project that was started in Uganda in 2013, has created over 4,000 jobs and increased export volumes.

Dubbed ‘Feed the Future Uganda Commodity Production and Marketing Activity’, the project has since March 2013, worked to increase the production and marketing of key agricultural commodities.

USAID has been promoting the project together with the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries in a bid to roll out the Village Agent Model to complement the government’s agricultural extension system.

The project specifically targets coffee, maize and beans—in order to improve incomes for smallholder farmers and their families. This has resulted into a 60% increase in export volumes by participating farmers, and creation of jobs for more than 4,000 Ugandan youth, a statement from the US Embassy in Kampala said.

On October 18 and 19, USAID and its partners held a closeout dialogue for the activity in Jinja. The activity developed and promoted approaches to help build relationships among all groups involved in the agricultural sector, and to increase productivity and access to competitive markets.

Sheila Desai, Director of USAID’s Economic Growth Office in Uganda, said, “I am truly inspired by the strong public and private sector commitment to adopt and carry forward many of the approaches used by the activity. I am also excited that this closeout dialogue is allowing public and private sector actors who established relationships through the activity to deepen their engagement with other stakeholders."

The closeout dialogue included field visits to Buyende, Iganga, Jinja, Kamuli, Mayuge, and Mukono to visit champion traders that have successfully applied approaches and tools promoted by USAID.  USAID also hosted a high-level roundtable discussion on enabling market intermediaries for improved market systems, a stakeholder meeting to discuss key lessons learned and opportunities for future investment, and an official handover of activity-developed tools, including a traders profile book and a manual for village agents, from USAID to the agriculture ministry.

Under the project, private-sector partners have demonstrated a strong commitment to extending a variety of services down the value chains through village agents to increase the quantity and quality of products that smallholder farmers produce and sell, thereby helping farmers live healthier and more productive lives.

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