“When I got high yields last season, people in my village thought I was using witchcraft in my garden because they had never seen such a bumper harvest.” Revealed Harriet Adong, a commercial farmer, under Lela Otong Farmer Group, based in Lira District.
The Feed the Future Uganda Inclusive Agricultural Markets (FtF IAM) Activity partnered with the Export Trading Group (ETG), a private sector commodity exporting company, to strengthen last mile distribution of quality and discounted fertilizers, seeds and agricultural chemicals to smallholder farmers in Lira, Kole and Oyam districts of Northern Uganda, 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. ETG works through already established agro dealers/farmer cooperatives like Lira farmers supply house, Bala Women & Youth co-operative, Oyam Agribusiness Area Co-operative Enterprise, and village agents who profile and generate demand for the agricultural inputs.
When Harriet and her farmer group heard about ETG’s discounted and quality fertilizer and seed, they immediately decided to give it a try, going against the community norm that fertilizers spoils the soil and is unaffordable. “I was tired of low yields and was willing to pay any amount to get good quality inputs that would boost my production.” Recalls Harriet. Before working with ETG, Harriet’s output was always very low and less than eight (8) bags from an acre of land. Harriet’s yields have increased drastically ever since she started working with ETG.
Harriet bought 10kgs of improved maize seed (DK777) and 50kg of fertilizer (DAP) from ETG at a discount of 35% of the prevailing market price. Additionally, ETG trained Harriet on planting, fertilizer application, and proper management of her garden. Through the training and applying quality inputs, Harriet harvested a record 32 bags of maize from her acre of land. “That was more than triple of what I was getting before. Very unbelievable!” exclaimed Harriet. She has since learned that fertilizer contributes to the size and weight of the maize grain. Today, other farmers in Harriet’s village who were earlier disinterested in using fertilizer based on wrong perceptions, have expressed a lot of interest in getting quality seed and fertilizer from ETG after witnessing Harriet’s success. This is expected to boost productivity and increase the incomes of farmers in the area. Harriet is grateful to Feed the Future for linking her to quality inputs and looks forward to investing more in the next season.
“Through Feed the Future’s support, my yields increased from 8 bags of maize grain to 32. When I sell the maize, I will use the money to support my family and contribute to the construction work of our family house.” Adong Harriet, 27, Lira district, Northern Uganda.
FtF IAM works with agribusinesses and the Government of Uganda to create sustainable agricultural growth targeting to improve farmer productivity and increase incomes.