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WFP, Government Inaugurate Grain Equipment For Smallholder Farmer Groups In Jinja

JINJA – In a commissioning ceremony today, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) together with the Government of Uganda put grain processing equipment into service to help small-scale farmers in the Jinja area to improve the quality of their grain, store it more safely and access markets.

The equipment is used to clean, dry, grade and bag grain for storage, and is being leased to Upland Rice Millers in Jinja town for the benefit of smallholder farmer groups in the area. The processing gear is one of eight units purchased by WFP and leased to the private sector and co-operatives since 2010, and it is being used in Jinja for the first time.

“Warehouse upgrades are critically important in our joint efforts with WFP to enhance the warehouse receipt system in Uganda,” said Minister of Trade, Industry and Co-operatives Amelia Kyambadde at a ceremony in Jinja on Monday.

The warehouse receipt system is a means to integrate small-scale farmer groups and traders into the East African Community market, the minister said. Constraints facing smallholders in Uganda include the lack of modern stores and warehouses, often resulting in poor quality grain.

“WFP’s vision is that Uganda is increasingly able to access regional markets with quality grain, and that small-scale farmer groups in particular are able to get better prices for their surpluses,” said Alice Martin-Daihirou, the WFP representative in Uganda.

Martin-Daihirou said agriculture and market support are among WFP's priorities in Uganda, where the agency’s work includes providing assistance for people who can meet their basic food needs, but require increased incomes to become fully food secure. This includes the Purchase for Progress initiative, known as P4P, which focuses on supporting small-holder farmer groups.

Under the warehouse receipt system, warehouse managers – licensed by Uganda Commodity Exchange – clean, dry, grade, bag and store agricultural produce from farmer groups, traders and processors, for a fee in public warehouses. The warehouse manager issues the depositor with a legally tradable electronic receipt, a document verifying the quantity and quality of stored grains. The receipt can enable a depositor to obtain a bank loan.

To support the receipt system, WFP invested US$2.4 million to buy the eight units of grain processing equipment to be leased to regional warehouses. In addition to the equipment commissioned in Jinja on Monday. the other seven units are operating in Kasese, Gulu, Masindi, Lira, Kapchorwa and Soroti towns, assisting farmers and traders to process maize, rice, sorghum and other agricultural produce.  

WFP, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives and the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries have signed a joint action agreement to support agriculture and the expansion of market access in Uganda. The agreement is aligned with the National Development Plan and the objectives of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme Compact.

The Minister of State for Agriculture, Zerubabel Nyira, and the UN Resident Coordinator Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie also attended the commissioning ceremony. Nyira said that the warehouse upgrades complement his ministry’s Development Strategy and Investment Plan.

WFP's other partners include the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). USAID provides technical support and is the largest funder of both WFP’s humanitarian and agriculture and market support programmes.

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For details, please contact
Lydia Wamala, WFP:  Tel: +256.312.242.000 or (cell): +256.757.778.037 lydia.wamala@wfp.org
Deborah Kyarasiime, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Co-operatives, +256 772. 403,046 dkyarasiime@mtic.go.ug