The major purpose of this programme is to enhance incomes and food security of smallholder households in Tooro region and beyond by expanding livelihood and business opportunities in the agriculture sector.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), over 70 percent of the world’s food needs are met by small farmers. It is also worth noting that Agriculture is the economic sector that employs the most people in Uganda, and the main source of food and income for many people living in poverty. The sector accounts for approximately 23 per cent of GDP and employs about 60 per cent of the labour force.
Uganda’s agriculture sector has enormous potential with Arable land (hectares) reported at 6900000 ha in 2020, according to the World Bank collection of development indicators, compiled from officially recognized sources. It is increasingly recognized that professional agriculture has the potential to generate income and drive people out of poverty but Agricultural productivity in Uganda is still below its potential mainly due to limited use of modern farming methods, increasing weather volatility yet few farmers use irrigation, low quality seeds and fertilisers on the market, poor market linkages and unfriendly credit facilities.
Under the FOTI Agribusiness and Entrepreneurship Program, FOTI work with Tooro Kingdom and development partners to:
- a) Link market to the farmers: Market linkages are common weak points between the informal world of smallholders and formal supply chains. With limited market information and poor transportation infrastructure, farmers generally sell to traders for low prices directly from their farms, leaving them with little income. Linking smallholder farmers to existing and new markets is necessary for rural development and poverty alleviation. FOTI will support smallholder farmers in quality management and identify market opportunities where smallholder farmers can sell their produce. FOTI will also work with its partners to establish and or strengthen existing market information centers to enable farmers access timely market information.
- b) Build capacity of farmers: FOTI capacity building initiative is intended to develop capacities of smallholder farmers in Tooro Region and enable them compete favorably in the agricultural value chain. It focuses on addressing capacity gaps along the agricultural value chain to ensure smallholder farmer have the required capabilities to address the problems they face. FOTI will organize periodic farm clinics and support farmers to identify their problems and address them. FOTI will also offer periodic trainings in agronomy, record keeping, marketing and financial literacy.
- c) Support farmers access affordable credit facilities: In Uganda, small holder farmers are usually hindered by credit constraints and insufficient income because they are unable to provide collateral for bank credits yet it’s a known fact that agricultural credits widely improve farmers’ income and welfare. Small holder farmers use credit to access modern seeds, fertilizers, farm tools and extension services. FOTI will periodically profile agricultural credit service providers and support small holder farmers to make informed choices.
- d) Support farmers access quality farm inputs: Farm inputs need to be available, affordable and accessible for Agriculture to thrive in Uganda. Smallholder farmers lack knowledge and equipment to effectively compete in the agricultural value chain. Many input dealers and intermediaries exploit smallholder farmers and give them sub-standard farm inputs that directly affect their productivity. FOTI will periodically profile farm input dealers and support small holder farmers to make informed choices.
FOTI plans to reach 50,000 smallholder farmers in Tooro Region in the next five (5) years.