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EMERGING FROM THE DEEP VALLEY OF COVID-19

EMERGING FROM THE DEEP VALLEY OF COVID-19

“Sometimes I don’t have money to buy seeds, fertilizer, and chemical that are necessary for productivity during the season. Having a good relationship with the Agrisol input shop has helped me a lot!” Narrates Martin Aroyi, a Farmer in Lira District- Northern Uganda.

Martin is one of the farmers who benefited from Feed the Future Uganda Inclusive Agricultural Markets (FtF IAM) Activity’s COVID-19 response intervention. The emergency of COVID-19 in 2020 and the limitations on movements the Government of Uganda imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19, presented the biggest uncertainty to Martin, a farmer who solely depends on farming for livelihood. Martin had difficulties in accessing inputs, labor for his farm and was unsure about the market availability which prompted him to scale down on farming. Martin’s farming business would soon suffer a setback because he used part of his capital to take care of his big family.

“For about a year, most of my land was idle because I was only using a small portion to grow food for my family consumption, and I also used my savings and capital to take care of my family needs like medication.” Martin reveals.

Martin joined Agrisol Africa Limited’s farmers’ network in January 2022, after acquiring a loan from Centenary Bank to revamp his business.

In response to the negative economic impacts of COVID-19 and the Ukraine war on farmers, the Feed the Future Uganda Inclusive Agricultural Markets (FtF IAM) Activity works with input distributors with established farmer networks like Agrisol, to offer promotional (discounted) input and services to smallholder farmers whose ability to buy inputs was weakened by the COVID-19 pandemic and to respond to the increased price of inputs driven by the war in Ukraine.

Martin was able to access the promotional inputs through AgriSol. The promotional inputs have helped him to quickly recover from the COVID-19 effects. Additionally, Agrisol has taken Martin through good agricultural practices, monitors his farm progress and has linked him to potential buyers of his products.

“The input discounts are helping me to recover from the COVID effects, for example, instead of buying four packs of seeds, I’m able to buy six because of the reduced prices. And the seeds are of good quality because I harvest more ever since I started working with Agrisol.” Martin Aroyi, Farmer, Lira.

Through Agrisol’s support, last season, Martin earned a good harvest of watermelons worth UGX. 10,000,000. Martin has reinvested the money in maize seed, serviced part of his loan, and purchased an irrigation kit to water his garden during the dry seasons.

FTF IAM partnership with Agrisol supports farmers to access high-quality inputs at a discount and increases their product knowledge and usage to boost their production capacity while strengthening their linkages with off-takers and financial institutions. Which in turn, expands the input distributor’s market share and profitability.

Author: Dorothy Nabatanzi for FtF IAM.

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