UN-funded initiative seeks to increase market access for Ugandan farmers

UN-funded initiative seeks to increase market access for Ugandan farmers

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Farmers in Uganda will soon have better access to local markets where they can sell their goods, thereby helping to increase incomes, enhance economic growth and reduce poverty, thanks to a new programme backed by the United Nations fund tasked with boosting agricultural development.

Lack of access to roads and the small number of processing facilities has made it difficult for farmers in rural Uganda to sell their products.

A new programme funded partially by a $15 million loan from the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will help redress that situation for some 8.8 million people – some 35 per cent of Ugandans.

“This programme will improve roads so that transit time and unpredictability is reduced,” said Marian Bradley, IFAD’s country programme manager for Uganda.

“With better roads and markets, transaction costs will be lower and productivity and competitiveness will increase. Prices for farm produce will also rise, and that will mean higher household incomes and improved standards of living,” she added.

The programme will ensure that small farmers and their communities participate in selecting infrastructure projects and in rehabilitation and construction work, in an effort to promote local ownership of the initiative.

In line with the Government’s Plan for Modernization of Agriculture, IFAD has recently revised its strategy in Uganda. “Our approach now includes promoting strong civil society organizations and community-based development, and improving the capacity of households and communities to increase their integration into markets,” Ms. Bradley stated.

More than 2.2 million people have benefited from IFAD’s 22-year partnership with Uganda. The Fund has helped finance 11 projects, including five ongoing ones, with some $178 million in loans.