Farmers’ Organization as a Pathway for Imrpoved Market Access by Smallholder Bean Farmers, Kamuli District, Uganda
G. Jagwe; P. Kibwika; G. Elepu; R. Mazur
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A poster presented at the 2012 Global Pulse Researchers Meeting, Kigali, Rwanda- “Transforming Grain-Legume Systems to Enhance Nutrition and Livelihoods”. Abstract: objectives: To establish how level of organization of existing farmer groups and associations influences the roles of small holder farmers in the bean value chain in Kamuli district. Methodology: Qualitative and quantitative data were gathered through interviews and focus group discussions with 5 agro-input dealers, 34 traders, 45 consumers, 64 CRSP farmers, and 63 non-CRSP farmers. Results: The CRSP project and SRL program are providing technical support to increase bean production, improve post-harvest handling and storage, and strengthen farmers’ collective marketing efforts. 45% of farmers participate in collective marketing groups, and 26% sell directly to institutional consumers, e.g., schools and hospitals. Farmers are well informed about varieties demanded, and when price rises and declines. To get the best price, farmers add value by cleaning and sorting. They also consult with fellow farmers on the market prices as a basis for bargaining with buyers. The decision to purchase and price offered by traders are based on quality and quantity parameters, and traders communicate those criteria to farmers through middlemen or brokers. Middlemen operate in a chain – those with limited working capital procure small quantities, then sell to other middlemen who bulk to meet quantities required by traders. To increase their profit margins, many middlemen prefer less value added produce in order to pay a lower price; thereafter, they sort, clean and grade to get higher prices from traders. Farmers organized in groups/associations collectively add value, bulk their produce, have stronger bargaining power and get a high price from traders, thereby undercutting the middlemen. Significance: In addition to gaining knowledge and skills to increase production, smallholder farmers seeking to earn higher and reliable incomes to improve their livelihoods must also organize themselves to market their produce collectively through emerging value chains.