REACH-Uganda 2018 Annual Report

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The Annual Report for the Resilient Efficient Agribusiness Chains in Uganda (REACH-Uganda) project covers a 12-month reporting period from January to December 2018. 2018 was a very important year for the REACH-Uganda project. It successfully fought to establish itself as a project promoting systemic change in its core value chains of rice and potatoes through a Market Systems Development (MSD) approach. During 2018 the project reached a milestone –working with 29,296 farmers, or 75% of its target population. Through an active scoping and screening process jointly implemented with Cardno EMG, the project has now identified and negotiated 19 partnership agreements. These agreements have been largely with market lead firms, such as SWT Tanners,Kibimba, Responsible Suppliers (rice), Psalms Confectionery and Namakwaland (potatoes). Partnership agreements have also been reached with smaller actors, such as Solar Now, Mengya Integrated Farmers Association (MIFA) and Kigezi Small Scale Agro Processors Association. A number of the partnerships were activated in 2018, leading to improvements in areas such as sourcing, branding, and marketing at the micro-, small, and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) level. This has led to 27% improvement in turnover at MSME level compared to 2017. This suggests that some of the partnerships are gaining a foothold and addressing key gaps in the market systems of rice and potato. Presently 3,500+ farmers are directly engaged and benefitting from MSMEs and agri-service providers supported by the project, while projections show that this will grow to 15,000+ farmers by the end of project in 2020. Significant public-private partnerships for co-investment in infrastructure were also signed. This included agreements for the rehabilitation of 44 kilometers (km) of roads with three District Local Governments (DLGs), namely Kween, Butalejja and Kanungu. The rehabilitation works are costshared with the DLGs on an approximate 50/50 basis. The objectives for rehabilitating these roads included improving market access and reducing transport and production costs for farmers producing the project’s target commodities. It is anticipated that the road rehabilitation will benefit a minimum of 76,988 persons in the road catchment area. In addition, partnerships were also signed for the rehabilitation and expansion of two gravity-fed irrigation schemes with farmer associations in Kapchorwa and Kween districts. These irrigation works expanded the total area covered to 36 acres per day. The irrigation works are intended to enhance community efforts to mitigate climate change as well as improve general economic performance of households in the irrigation catchment areas. REACH-Uganda also made progress toward accomplishment of high-level outcome indicators. Notably, 71% of participating farmers are using three of the resilience measures promoted by the project while 38% have adopted all four resilience measures. Regarding productivity, 39% of farmers are now achieving the targeted optimal production targets of 2 mt/acre for rice and 5.5 mt/acre for potato. This represents a fourfold increase in the number of farmers achieving this target since the project baseline. The REACH-Uganda project was never intended to work in isolation. During 2018, the project enjoyed a number of fruitful partnerships with other projects and actors. This included, a close working partnership with the Integrated Seed Sector Development Project for seed potato multiplication in eastern and south western Uganda. In the potato sector the project also partnered with the GIZ funded Promotion of Nutrition Sensitive Potato value chains in eastern Uganda on farmer training and seed potato availability. The REACH-Uganda project also worked with Roads for Water to train district local government staff on the opportunities for harnessing water run off from roads for agricultural activities. Additionally, the project has been partnering with the UNHABITAT implemented Global Land Tool Network activity in Uganda, looking at formal registration of land ownership and issuance of wetland use permits. September 2018 marked the mid-point of the project. In line with the project’s contribution agreement and best practices, REACH-Uganda underwent a Mid-Term Review. The review was conducted by Opportunities Unlimited during October 2018. The terms of reference focused on eight key questions: 1. Is the approach to MSD methodology currently employed by the project appropriate for the context? 2. Is the approach adopted by the project seeking to improve the availability and uptake of public and private support service relevant? 3. To what extent has the project team responded adequately to challenges that arose during implementation? 4. Does the team have good quality analysis, human capacity, and systems? 5. Is there a good quality results-focused Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Sharing (MELS) system, allowing for periodic reflection and adjustment of activities if needed? 6. What progress has been made at mid-point? 7. How successfully has the project incorporated elements of climate-smart agriculture, youth and gender into the implementation of its activities? 8. What are the prospects for sustainability of REACH-Uganda project results? The review team (with some limited caveats) was largely positive about the project’s progress/success and recognized that the project was on track in terms of its main targets (number of farmers reached, number of active partnerships). In areas in which the project could improve and/or achieve greater impact, the Opportunities Unlimited team provided detailed suggestions for IFDC and Cardno EMG on next steps for the project to consider. Emphasis was placed on the need for more programmatic work on the support functions within the market system, such as access to quality planting materials and agrochemicals. In addition, the project was recommended to undergo some improvements in the specificity and relevance of partnership agreements, integration of a Donor Committee for Enterprise Development (DCED) standard results monitoring system, and development of more in-depth market strategies.
Aggregations, Partnerships