With WFP's support, smallholders are gaining more from improved quality and increased quantities of maize. Copyght: WFP/Marco Frattini
Smallholder farmer groups in northern Uganda have started to see the benefits of Purchase for Progress. In a region that was until recently a battleground, there is now an opportunity for formerly displaced persons to gain greater and more direct benefit from their produce.
PADER – Smallholder farmers involved in WFP's Purchase for Progress (P4P) programme in northern Uganda have begun to sell quality grain. Between December and February, groups from Pader and Agago districts sold nearly 230 metric tons of maize and beans to traders in Uganda and Sudan.
Judith Lumu, WFP's officer in charge of operations in the two districts, says the farmers earned nearly US $38,000 from the sales which were boosted by post-harvest training, improved market infrastructure and other assistance from WFP and partner organisations.
“Previously, farmers sold maize at a give-away price,” she says. “A kilo sold for at most Uganda Shillings 200 in 2009. But with improved quality, the price has more than doubled.”
WFP will itself begin to buy food from these and other farmer groups in northern Uganda in coming months.
WFP’s role and partners
Working closely with the UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation, the Italian organization CESVI and Food for the Hungry, WFP supports the training of smallholders as well as group marketing, record keeping and produce management to help the farmers cut down on post-harvest losses.
WFP is also constructing warehouses, rehabilitating feeder roads and strengthening access to market information by the farmer groups.
The impact of conflict
During the worst years of the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency, after 1996, the majority of people in northern Uganda relied on WFP relief assistance for basic survival. Large numbers of people lived as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in crammed camps where they could not access their farms to grow food.
With the return of peace in 2007, the IDPs began to return home to rebuild their livelihoods. However, they produced limited amounts of quality surplus grain.
One man’s gain
George Oloya, a 30-year-old father of two, whose farmer group sold more than 50 tons of maize last year, is delighted that his life has changed so dramatically.
"I sent my brother back to school", says Oloya. "Previously, he was sitting around at home as I couldn’t afford his fees.
We're very happy with what WFP is doing for us and we're proud of what we have achieved.”