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IMPROVED LIVELIHOODS: 5,000 Smallholder Coffee Farmers in Elgon Region Get Boost

A coffee farmer tending to her garden

The GIZ Employment and Skills for Development in Africa (E4D) programme has partnered with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Uganda and Olam Food Ingredients (OFI) to improve the livelihoods of 5,000 coffee farmers in the Mount Elgon region of Uganda.

Instead of blanket support provided through traditional service delivery models, the partnership will co-design a suite of scientifically tested living income strategies, tailored to the diverse needs of coffee farmers in Uganda.

The project, which started in February 2021 and will continue for two and half years, aims to improve farmers’ livelihood by enabling them to optimize their investment in coffee, earn morefrom other on farm activities, and thus reduce the living income gap by 20 per cent.

Sarah Margiotta, the IITA Uganda Climate-Smart Agriculture Team Lead says, “IITA researchers will build on existing experience and data from Olam, IITA and GIZ, the LI Community of Practice (LI COP), and other publicly available information to determine specific farmer typologies within a sample set of 2,000 farming households in the OFI farmer network. Research shows that there are many variances between farmers. Therefore, a farmer segmentation exercise will be conducted to enable the identification of different clusters of farmers with similar characteristics. By better understanding specific farmer characteristics, the private sector can more effectively target extension service delivery models.”

The project implementers will identify, test, assess, measure and apply the most efficient living income strategies for different farmer segments to reduce the living income gap and enable them to afford a decent standard of living for all members of their households.

“As the backbone of Uganda’s economy, the agriculture sector is critical to the country’s economic development and this growth will be realised when smallholders increase their yields and incomes. By implementing this project, E4D is contributing to the Ugandan Government’s target to increase coffee production from 4.6 million bags a year to 20 million bags a year by 2025,” says Donald Agaba, Team Leader at GIZ’s Employment and Skills for Development in Africa (E4D).

Yves-Pascal Suter, Senior Strategist, Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability, at OFI adds, “To achieve this, the project will use an approach that considers the very diverse realities of farming households to provide tailored and specific advice and services. Furthermore, our work on the ground with coffee farmers, means we all understand the importance of looking at the farm as a whole; at the pathways that have the most effective capacity to improve the livelihoods of these families; how to exploit the potential synergies between crops, and livestock; and beyond that, the different resources and social structures that exist. With OFI as a partner, the project will be looking at all this through an economic lens, in terms of return–on–investment for the farmers. Crucially, this innovative project is also scalable and should help guide and inform further actions in the region, as well as globally”.

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Taddewo William Senyonyi
https://www.facebook.com/senyonyi.taddewo
William is a seasoned business and finance journalist. He is also an agripreneur and a coffee enthusiast.

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