Market Assessment

Agricultural Value Chain Analysis In Northern Uganda: Maize, Rice, Groundnuts, Sunflower And Sesame, Action against Hunger, 2014

    Description
    This value chain analysis was done for each of the following five crop commodities in Northern Uganda: maize, rice, groundnuts, sunflower and sesame. This included mapping of the value chains, detailed descriptions of the main actors involved in the value chains (from farmers to end consumers) and lastly, analysis of how the value is distributed across the different actors. The study was conducted over a three month period between October and December 2013.

    Summary of results
    The study includes detailed findings for each of the five value chains; some cross-cutting constraints include the following:

    Production constraints
    Farmers face great difficulty accessing seed in terms of quantity and quality due to high prices and limited availability. Seed used is usually home saved seeds from previous harvest, most of which is made up of local varieties (except hybrid sunflower seeds). Production is also limited by a lack of capital and access to rural credit; the majority of farmers lack access to formal financial services. When farmers manage to contract a loan, the interest rates are high, around 20% per year. There is generally poor farmer access to extension services in most of the visited areas. Although National Agriculture Advisory Services are present in the region, their staff concentrates on only selected crop enterprises leaving the rest of the crops unattended to. NGOs in the area have attempted to bridge this gap but have worked with only crops of their choice and often focus on postharvest handing and marketing aspects, leaving out production. Other factors affecting yields include: use of rudimentary tools and equipment (e.g. hand hoe); farmers’ lack of agronomic knowledge; incidence of pests, weeds, vermin and diseases. Some areas are affected by soil exhaustion; most of these lands were previously occupied and over cultivated. Weather is also a crucial issue, with rainfall patterns becoming more and more unpredictable for farmers.

    Processing constraints
    Farmers in most cases market their crops without processing it (e.g. unmilled rice) and sell it with minimal added value. Farmers lack simple processing equipment (e.g. rice miller) or direct access to milling facilities (e.g. transportation). Another problem is the absence of postharvest handling equipment to improve the quality of the product (e.g. tarpaulins for drying the harvest). And finally, farmers lack knowledge on postharvest handling and value addition.

    Marketing constraints
    The relationship between farmers and local traders tends to be characterized by a general mistrust, affecting communication and farmers’ overall knowledge about markets. Farmers tend to lack appropriate storage facilities and skills to manage such facility. While some crops have great potential and are well adapted to the local environment (e.g. sunflower), market channels are inexistent. Farmers find it difficult to market their crops and attract buyers. Some crop varieties are in lesser demand and subsequently lower priced on the market than others. A significant proportion of farmers in the visited areas remains unorganized and act individually in the value chain, especially in Otuke where farmer groups are not well developed. Transportation is a strategic issue in better connecting farmers to markets: because of the poor condition of roads and the high cost of transportation, farmers remain largely isolated from markets.