The Uganda Agri-Hub brings together the different actors in the agricultural sector and stimulates cooperation and exchange amongst them. On a day to day basis, the members collaborate to improve their farmer entrepreneurship interventions. A core priority in the network has been to make financial products more accessible to farmers. Agriculture accounts for 30% of Uganda’s GDP, yet the sector has received only 10% of the credit available in this country. To change this situation, many linkages have been established between NGOs and financial institutions. Several market places are currently being created, in which farmers have direct contact with financial service providers. The expectation is that these new networks will be an incentive for banks to create new financial products that can be afforded by farmers. At the same time the Agri-Hub members will support farmers’ organisations to expand skills and build capacity in general.
Collaboration in the Uganda Agri-Hub is centred around 6 thematic groups: Farmers’ Organisations; Farming Services; Financial Services; Market Information; Policy Engagement; Gender in value chains and Food Security.
One obstacle in further growth is the lack of standardised market information. In Uganda, the more than 10 independent providers of market information use different approaches in collecting, analysing and disseminating data. In the last year, the Agri-Hub members agreed to change this situation by developing standard procedures and presenting these as a white paper to the government. They also agreed to conduct a survey of the different ways in which market information is currently used. The successful first Ugandan Market Information Symposium was one of the main events in this area, linking individual farmers and heads of farmer associations to service providers, donors, financial institutions and partners from Uganda and Kenya.
The Uganda Agri-Hub enjoys recognition from farmers’ organisations, NGOs, institutes of higher learning, government circles and the business sector, as well as other (non-Dutch) international donors such as Danida and USAID. These groups – under local leadership – are getting things done. Not only is there an emerging culture of knowledge and experience sharing, but regular events with inspiring examples are leading to deal brokering, and joint action.
Agriculture plays a critical role in Uganda. The so-called bread basket of Africa possesses vast tracts of arable land, regular rainfall and sizeable mineral deposits. In the last years the country has commenced economic reforms and growth has been robust despite the global economic situation.