Towards a Self-Reliant Rice Sector: Expanding production and processing of quality local rice in Uganda
This study focuses on the dynamic landscape of the rice industry in Uganda, specifically examining the efforts of SWT Tanners (SWT), the leading rice processor and distributor, to transition from importing rice to incorporating Ugandan varieties into its product lines. The Government of Uganda aims to enhance self-sufficiency in the rice sector, prompting SWT's strategic shift. The company is investing significantly in local rice varieties, establishing a multi-stage milling facility, acquiring land for a nucleus farm, and initiating an outgrower scheme involving 398 farmer groups. The outgrower scheme aims to improve rice quality and quantity, providing farmers with support in ploughing, seed access, credit, and technical advice. However, challenges arise as farmers need to adhere to SWT's quality standards, necessitating a departure from traditional practices and reliance on single-stage mills. The study emphasizes the importance of organized input and output channels for farmers to meet SWT's requirements. Collaboration with REACH-Uganda contributes to infrastructure development, including irrigation schemes, access roads, and electricity, benefiting both SWT and local farmers. The study concludes with projected results, highlighting the program and private investments, increased sales value for SWT, and additional income for rice farmers by 2023.