YAP Proposal #258: Rice value chain development (Mangeni Mathias, Uganda)

MangeniMathias

Rice production is constrained by a number of challenges. The key constraint to developing the value chain is our inability to market high quality rice.

The rice trade in Uganda is largely unstructured and dominated by a quality-insensitive and informal cross-border trade. Available statistics indicate that out of the 650,000 tons of rice produced annually, 250,000 tons are exported.

Less than 50% of these exports go through formal trade from Uganda to Kenya. The rest of the rice exports go through informal cross-border trade, particularly to new market opportunities such as Southern Sudan.

The rice market is dominated by small traders and middlemen who are driven by profit margins rather than quality standards. On the other hand, the large scale buyers tend to make more profits by adding value to the low quality rice purchased directly from young farmers at a low price.

This is frustrating to the youth because they lack critical linkages to commercial and quality conscious markets and access to good rice storage systems and post-harvest handling methods. For the most part young rice farmers work in isolation and lack access to information on prices, quality standards requirements, and other market signals that would allow them to make informed choices.

As a group we want to increase access to competitive and profitable markets for at least 10 model youth farmers.

We will sign contracts with rice buyers, lobby for markets and ensure pesticides and quality seeds are supplied to youth farmer groups in efforts to address the quality seeds and pesticide issue. Setting standards of the quality to be produced will earn the youth more money, which means their rice will be bought at high price because it is quality rice.

We will procure and allocate tarpaulin sheets to 10 model youth farmers for post-harvest handling of rice products. Postharvest handling and marketing is the main focus. When we have the market, the farmers be allotted 4 tarpaulin sheets per person.

ManganiMathias2A total of 40 tarpaulins will be procured and allocated to improve the quality of rice, that is, to ensure it is free of stones, and increase income for the youth farmers. Quality milled rice always sells for between UGX 2000-2200/= per kg.

We shall expand the market linkages of the 10 model youth farmers to financial services for investment in production and market development by end of the project.

The 10 youth farmers will be equipped with entrepreneurship development, financial management and strengthened linkages to micro-finance institutions (MFIs) and commercial banks. The linkages created will give youth options to access financial services when required from different financial institutions.

These activities will help in ensuring finances are available for investments in enterprise development, and emergencies such as soft loans for medical care and school fees. At the same time it will support longer-term investments in productive enterprises.

We will use community-based empowerment that involves the youth in learning how to produce through small demonstrations, which they then replicate on their farms. The youth community will contribute land for the demonstration gardens.

The project will focus on looking at value as the full linkage between the rice production enterprise and the final consumer utilizing the goods produced. It will involve supporting youth farmers to appreciate the ‘golden grain’ (rice) as a high value crop enterprise that is often quality sensitive, requiring extra care to obtain the needed quality standard or meet the critically timed marketing opportunity.

Regular, weekly meetings with youth farmers and cross-checking of the information collected will inform our evaluations and create a basis for future planning.

We will target young women’s participation to be at 57%, with over 9.1 hours spent in production compared to 6.9 hours spent by men to strengthen gender mainstreaming.

The youth will be alerted on environmental impact considerations in rainwater harvesting for irrigation of crops and trees, ensuring water drainage, use of garbage skips and a garbage collection routine to improve the environmental situation of the area and sanitation during the project life.

In seeking $5000 USD funding we will address the problem of limited market access for small-scale young rice farmers due to poor farming systems and manipulation by the traders who buy their lowland rice at very low prices. Youth will be encouraged to create mini-stores to store the rice before selling, which will reduce losses incurred when rice is sold when prices are low.

At least 10 contracts shall be signed by us and rice buyers to supply rice. Our businesses enterprises will be developed and sustainable by the end of the project.  At least 40 tarpaulins will be procured and supplied to 10 youth farmers for quality production. Ten youth will be equipped with financial support and savings management skills.

 

Blogpost and picture submitted by Mangeni Mathias (Bugiri Youth Network, Uganda) – bugiriyouthnet[at]gmail.com

The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.


This post is published as proposal #258 of “YAP” – our “Youth Agripreneur Project”.

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