CAMPAIGN AGAINST FAKE AGRICULTURAL INPUTS
On Friday, May 5, the Feed the Future Uganda Inclusive Agricultural Markets (FtF IAM) Activity and partner Anti-Counterfeit Network (ACN) Africa, a communications consultancy, launched the “Fake is Fake” campaign at Mbale Resort Hotel, Mbale City. The event also included an award ceremony for ACN’s song competition for the “Fake is Fake” campaign against counterfeit agricultural inputs. The campaign uses music and radio to increase demand for information and action against counterfeit agricultural products. ACN is also piloting a Fakes Desk Protocol in the Elgon sub-region, engaging multi-agency partnership with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP), Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Interpol, Judicial Training Institute (JTI), Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), National Drug Authority (NDA), Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries. The protocol enables people to report incidences of counterfeits both in-person through walk-ins at the fake desk and online through a web-based, SMS, and USSD systems. This will ease the reporting, investigation, and eventual prosecution of counterfeit cases.
The launch brought together farmers, brand owners, consumers, agro-input traders as well as public and private sector key opinion leaders who rallied against fake agricultural products and learned more about Intellectual Property Rights protection and promotion. The event hosted 260 (64 women) participants from Government of Uganda; the local governments (Deputy Mayor Mbale City, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer-Sironko District), Ministry of Internal Affairs (Uganda Police-Regional Police Commander, District Police Commanders for Sironko, Bulambuli, Mbale City and Mbale Districts), Agro dealers (Balton, Zeus Agro, Agro Supply, GrainPulse, Syova Seeds, Uganda Oil Seed Producers Association), smallholder farmers, media (Local radio and national media UBC television), local artists and development agencies (Technoserve, International Fertilizer Development Center, the National Agricultural Research Organization, Rokolto) attended. The Fakes Desk protocol was unveiled during the event.
BUSINESS ADVISORY AND FINANCIAL SERVICES
FtF IAM is supporting Finding XY, a business advisory partner to offer tailored business advisory and partial de-risking financial support, “risk capital,” to ten (10) female-led agri-SMEs that suffered setbacks due to the COVID-19 crisis. The company has supported Mount Rwenzori coffee farmers Cooperative Union Ltd to raise USD XXX from Rabo Bank at 8% interest rate as an unsecured loan for working capital. The cooperative will use the capital raised to off-take coffee from farmers in the season of July 2023. Rabo Bank invested in the cooperative due to the risk capital that eases the loan burden on the cooperative hence reducing its risk of default, improving profitability, and ensuring long-term sustainability. FtF IAM has seen the risk capital help agribusinesses adversely affected by COVID-19 attract small ticket sizes that can help them to re-build their businesses and increase buyback from farmers.
VALUE ADDITION AND QUALITY FOOD TRADE
In 2021, FtF IAM and partners; Food Safety Associates, and the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), conducted regional-based (in the Northern, Eastern and Southwestern regions of Uganda) sector-wide trainings targeting grain millers to create awareness on cereal standards and recommended hygienic and manufacturing practices aiming to help millers produce safe and certified quality products that meet the demand of premium markets. Over 30 maize millers have received UNBS certification due to FtF IAM’s support and are reporting increased sales to institutional markets as a result of the certification. Samello Foods Ltd, is one of the maize processors in Isingiro district that was supported to attain the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) certification in January 2023. As a result of certification, the company is experiencing increased demand for its certified maize flour products by schools in Mbarara district and the increased hire of milling services by the local community who appreciate the upgrades Samello has made to machinery and the processes that improve the quality of flour milled. Samello has also reported an increment in revenues. Samello’s estimates that in the period of January 20, 2023 – May 3, 2023 it has made maize flour sales of UGX. XXX and earned milling service fees of UGX. XXX compared to UGX. XXX and UGX. XXX earned in the same period in 2022.
“ We have improved, am confident that by the end of this year -we will more than double last year’s sales” the MD, Samello Foods commented.
FtF IAM will track and document more evidence of these changes from the millers supported to upgrade and get certification of their milled products to amplify the benefits. The evidence will accelerate change among other medium and small-scale millers to produce safe and certified foods.
AGRI INPUT SUPPLY AND AGRIBUSINESS SERVICES
FtF IAM works with the Export Trading Group (ETG), an international input supplier, to strengthen the last-mile distribution of inputs to smallholder farmers in the Lira, Oyam, and Kole districts. ETG is sensitizing farmers in the Lango and Karamoja sub-regions on the use of fertilizers and improved seeds. In the last two weeks, ETG has conducted trainings on good agronomic practices like plant spacing, use of fertilizer, and weeding through establishing demonstration farms in Karamoja (Awac Farmer Field School Network) and in Lango (Oyam Area Cooperative) sub-regions. Farmers are appreciating the training and mentioned that prior to the training, they had never used fertilizer because of inaccessibility, the lack of sufficient information, and the beliefs that fertilizers spoil their already fertile soils coupled with the high fertilizer prices. As a result, during the training, ETG made sales of Maize seed (2514 kgs), Soybean seed (2700), and fertilizer (137).