NORTHERN UGANDA FARMERS' LIVELIHOOD IMPROVEMENT PROJECT (PHASE 1)
Ever since the Government of Uganda (GOU) introduced Peace, Recovery and Development Program (PRDP) in 2007, many interventions to raise the household income of the war affected families have been undertaken including Development Partners (DPs). Although National Agriculture Advisory Services (NAADS) and Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF) under the GOU have attained some of their respective objectives, a lot remains to be done. Performance of these government interventions has been limited partly due to parallel structure of agriculture extension made up of NAADS on one hand and the traditional extension system on the other, and also the shortage of technical guidance or capabilities while stressing direct provision of agricultural inputs.
Similar to the government program, a number of DPs have also earnestly been involved in projects such as Agricultural Livelihoods Recovery Program (ALREP) and Restoration of Agricultural Livelihoods in Northern Uganda (RALNUC) under the European Union and Danish Government respectively, for the improvement of livelihoods for the people of Acholi Sub-region. Although both programs have been successfully carried out to create a positive impact on household incomes of target farmer groups, there is no direct involvement of government officials both at central and district levels. This leaves issues of sustainability and replicability after completion of the projects unaddressed. Regardless of these interventions on livelihoods enhancement, there remains a huge gap that could be bridged by other stakeholders particularly in light of the fact that many households are still suffering from low productivity of their farming operations with slight increase of their income.
The Japanese Government through Japanese International Development Agency (JICA) started with setting up of a field office in Gulu (2009) to coordinate development assistance for Northern Uganda and contribute to the resettlement of Internally Displaced People (IDPs), restoration of peace, acceleration of recovery and promotion of the development. JICA’s Reconstruction Assistance Program (REAP), is constituted with the following three core objectives;
- Rehabilitation and reconstruction of physical infrastructure and facilities which include roads and bridges to pave way to the smooth return of IDPs to their ancestral villages and to stimulate economic activities in the sub-region, in addition to the construction of classrooms for existing schools and boreholes for resettled communities to restore the normal life of the returnees
- Empowerment of local government administration and the capacity development of local government officials so as to deliver better services to the communities and the people of the region
- Enhancement of the livelihoods of former IDPs in the region where more than 85% of households earn incomes from subsistent agriculture practices
Since its inception in 2009, REAP has achieved commendable results through various projects. Some figures of physical facilities constructed under REAP are as follows;
- Upgrading of more than one hundred fifty (150) kilometers of rural roads, besides the eleven (11) kilometer tarmac road between Olwiyo and Atiak in Nwoya district. This has enabled the smooth movement and transportation of people and goods.
- Reconstruction of eight (8) bridges on previously impassable road sections in Lamwo, Pader, Gulu, and Nwoya districts
- Construction of 35 schools equipped with new classrooms, latrines, teachers’ quarters, and school boreholes in Gulu, Kitgum, Lamwo, Pader, and Agago districts
- Establishment of a total of 75 boreholes in all the 7districts in Acholi sub-region and 6 piped water systems in some districts
In addition, there is an on-going technical cooperation project, Project for Capacity Development in Planning and Implementation of Community Development, also known as ACAP, being implemented under the Ministry of Local Government with a cooperation period of 4 years; November 2011 to November 2015. The project aims at strengthening the management capabilities of local government officials through on-the–job training on the process of planning, procuring, implementing, and monitoring for their own development projects. Currently the project activities are focused in four districts of Amuru, Nwoya, Kitgum, and Pader. Under ACAP, a total of sixty six (66) boreholes were constructed as pilot projects and thirty eight (38) motorbikes were donated to the district governments to facilitate monitoring and management activities to be done by the district officials.
Looking at the structure of JICA’s REAP program, all these interventions shall culminate in the enhancement of living standards to be reflected by increase in household income of the IDP camp returnees. In other words, the economic and social infrastructure development and capacity building of local administration could become more meaningful only when the livelihoods of war affected people is improved upon in comparison with previous years and further anticipated to improve in following years. The ultimate goal of raising household income could be attained by the increase in agriculture productivity and proper marketing of produce since majority of households in the region depend on agriculture for their livelihood.
The government of republic of Uganda (GOU) enjoys a good relationship with government of Japan. Therefore, GOU made a request to the Japanese government to provide technical assistance for the improvement of livelihoods of small-scale farmers in the Acholi Sub-region. The Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) signed agreement with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) witnessed by Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development to provide technical support for improvement of livelihoods of small-scale farmers. The Northern Uganda farmer’s Livelihood improvement project started in 2015 and is carried out in selected agricultural communities in eight (8) districts in Acholi sub-region namely Gulu, Kitgum, Pader, Lamwo, Amuru, Omoro, Nwoya and Agago. The project is implemented by JICA and MAAIF in collaboration with District Local Government in the region. The target population is 1.5 million people and beneficiary farmer groups are selected by district offices with a certain set criteria agreed upon between the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) and JICA.
To establish an effective market oriented agricultural production approach to improve farmers’ livelihood.
- Skills and knowledge of staff in Acholi sub-region on agricultural production built.
- Production and productivity of selected crops especially vegetables increased.
- Improved access of produce to market secured through Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment and Promotion (SHEP) approach.
- Nutrition status of participating household members, children in particular, improved
- Number of capacitated extension workers involved in the project
- Changes in amount and also quality of selected agricultural produce
- Changes in total income of participating households over the project period
- Changes in bio data of children within project intervened communities.
The project will be carried out in selected agricultural communities in eight (8) districts of Acholi Sub-region, namely, Gulu, Kitgum, Pader, Agago, Lamwo, Amuru, Omoro and Nwoya. However the project will begin with three model districts (Gulu, Kitgum and Pader) and scale up to other districts. The benefitted farmers groups will be selected by district offices with a certain set criteria to be agreed upon between the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) and JICA in advance.
The project headquarters will be set up in Gulu district and project coordination offices in the other six districts.
In light of vast expanse of Acholi sub-region, benefitted farmer groups will be selected alternately among eight districts where each group could secure the direct intervention of project implementation unit in two consecutive years.
a) Output 1: Skills and knowledge of agricultural extension workers of Acholi sub-regions on agricultural production built
During past over ten years agricultural extension services in the rural communities of Uganda were provided mostly by NAADS coordinators, which were proved not functional, thus, being dismantled in June, 2014. Currently the Government of Uganda is in a process of reformation of agricultural extension system with more focus on the MAAIF as major driving force of agricultural extension services on the ground. Since services to be provided by extension workers shall be keys to the success of the Project, their capacity must be enhanced through following activities;
- Assigned agricultural extension workers to the Project will be given priorities to take part in various trainings offered by MAAIF and its institutions
- Assigned agricultural extension workers to the Project will learn from the Japanese Expert in a form of on-the-job training at demonstration plots set by Farmers’ groups
- Agricultural extension workers will make routine visit to the demonstration farm and farm of individual farmers to provide technical support
After almost twenty years’ absence from agricultural land, farmers lack basic knowledge and skills on agricultural production. In the same breath, extension workers also need skills enhancement in order to provide better services to the farmers. For the achievement of Output 2, the following activities will be conducted;
- Baseline survey to understand farmers household operation during entire year which lay a base of the project for appropriate intervention to increase production and productivities of selected agricultural produce
- Selection of appropriate crops to focus among farmers groups based on their natural and socio-economic conditions including market needs, where vegetables and fruits being essential but food crops not being excluded at the initial stage of the Project
- Training of extension workers and leaders of farmer groups on basic and advanced production skills and postharvest practices at the established demonstration plots
- Establishment of seasonal and annual cropping patterns with a combination of various farm produce.
- Networking of farmers groups with various service providers available on site which include small scale credit, small scale irrigation, and farming mechanization, etc.
c) Output 3: Better access of produce to market secured through Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment and Promotion (SHEP) approach
Agricultural produce should be brought into targeted markets at the right time, in right shape and volume, where it could be sold at prices determined by the market. In order to facilitate proper marketing of agricultural produce the following activities are carried out;
- Baseline survey of various farm produces in relation with market
- Awareness creation of farmers on the marketability of their produce through educational sessions conducted in form of meetings, workshops, and market surveys
- Networking of key stakeholders including but not limited to farmers groups, buyers and small credit institutions to promote better linkages for proper handling and marketing of agricultural produce, which is normed as Farm Business Linkage Stakeholder (FABLIST) forum in SHEP Approach
- Systemization of collection, temporary storage, and transportation of produce in bulk ta to enhance bargaining power of farmers
- Setting up of farmers learning classes, from where farmer group members could learn record keeping practices for farming activities and negotiations with prospective buyers of their farm produce
d) Output 4: Nutritious status of participating households members, children in particular, improved
Advantages to grow vegetables on-farm will not limit to the profitability of produce in market places but entail the improvement of nutrition status of families who could naturally consume the produce at home. The domestic consumption of vegetable in Uganda and in Northern Uganda in particular stays at low level which attributes to poor profile of nutrition and health status of children in Northern Uganda.
In order to contribute to this end, following activities will be incorporated in the Project;
- Base-line survey on health and nutrition status of household members and children in Project areas
- Nutrition awareness campaigns to be conducted in community and primary schools, which could enlighten the farmers groups on the importance of vegetables rich in vitamins essential for the balanced growth of body and brain particularly for children through which the production and subsequent consumption of vegetables could be further accelerated.
- Cooking classes for women groups who play major roles for diets of the household
- Promotion of school gardens so that vegetables could become major additions to school lunch program.
These activities will be conducted by Project Implementation Unit to be comprised of Japanese experts dispatched by JICA and their counterparts assigned by MAAIF and concerned districts. With assignment of long term experts from Japan who are conversant with agronomy in tropical agriculture, extension officers and farmers can while working hand in hand with them learn necessary technologies in an efficient manner.
This is a new project but a reconnaissance survey carried out in July 2014 found a lot of potential to improve the livelihoods of the farmers in the sub-region.
Output 1: Vegetable production knowledge and skills of AOs are improved through verifying appropriate technologies at demonstration farms.
All activities under Output 1 were implemented as described in the table 2 below.
Table 2: Activities and Achievements of Output 1
|1. Conduct initial assessment on present conditions of target areas (e.g. production skills and socio-economic conditions of farmers, market functions and stakeholders)||· The Project conducted the survey for relevant information and the baseline survey.
· The Project prepared both survey reports and identified socio-economic conditions of farmers and some key issues.
|2. Prepare verification items and selection criteria of demonstration farm locations based on the assessment results conducted in 1-1||· The Project prepared verification items and selection criteria of demonstration farm locations.
· The Project selected three locations of demonstration farm in the first season in 2016 and five of them in the second season in 2016.
|3. Establish demonstration farms and verify appropriate vegetable production technologies||· Totally eight demonstration farms were established to verify appropriate vegetable production technologies.|
|4. Strengthen agricultural officers' capacity through training and management on demonstration farms||· Agricultural officers in the three model districts were capacitated through lectures and practices at demonstration farms.
· Training of Trainers (ToT) for all agricultural officers in Acholi Sub-region was conducted both in 2016 and 2017.
· All agricultural officers from the target eight districts participated in Refresher Training held in 2017.
|5. Prepare training materials based on the results from demonstration farms||· The Project prepared training materials both on vegetable production and improvement of quality of life.|
Some achievements of the indicators of Output 1 are shown in the table 3 below.
Table 3: Achievements of Output 1 Indicators
|1. More than five potential vegetables are confirmed and their appropriate cultivation methods suitable for Acholi Sub-region are identified.||· Seven vegetable items (i.e., tomato, eggplant, green pepper, cabbage, onion, carrot, and watermelon) were identified and their appropriate cultivation methods were developed. (target achieved)|
|2. Training materials on vegetable production are developed.||· Training materials on vegetable production of the seven items are developed. (target achieved)|
|3. More than 90% of agricultural officers in the model districts understand appropriate technologies on vegetable production.||· The Project conducted pre- and post-examination during the Training of Trainers (TOT) in 2016. All the participants (33 participants took pre-exam and 28took post-exam) except one officer achieved improvement in results. The participants improved their score of 20.4 points on average.
· The Project conducted pre- and post-examination during the Training of Trainers (TOT) in 2017 as well. All the participants except one officer achieved improvement in results. The participants improved their score of 17.2 points on average. (40 participants took pre-test and 60 participants took post-test.)
Output 2: Activity package is developed and implemented to promote market-oriented agriculture.
Output 2 activities were conducted for AOs and target farmer groups for the first batch as described in the following table 4.
Table 4: Activities and Achievements of Output 2
|1. Set criteria for selecting farmer groups through discussions with government stakeholders and select target groups
|· The Project developed selection criteria for target farmer groups by discussing with stakeholders of the three model districts.
· District Local Governments selected target farmer groups of the first batch and second batch in collaboration with the project team.
|2. Conduct sensitisation workshops on market-oriented agriculture for relevant stakeholders||· The Project conducted sensitisation workshops on market-oriented agriculture for AOs and target farmer groups of the first batch.|
|3. Develop an activity package to promote market-oriented agriculture and prepare necessary training materials||· The Project developed the first version of an activity package to promote market-oriented agriculture and prepared necessary training materials for AOs and farmers.|
|4. Conduct training on market-oriented agriculture for agricultural officers
|· Field based training for AOs of the 3 model districts was conducted in 2015.
· Training of Trainers (ToT) for all AOs in Acholi Sub-region was conducted in 2016 and TOT for newly recruited AO was conducted in 2017.
· Refresher training for all AOs for all Acholi Sub-region was conducted in 2017.
|5. Conduct a series of activities on market-oriented agriculture for target farmer groups||· The Project conducted a series of training sessions and practices for target famer groups of the first batch in the first and the second season, 2017.|
|6. Conduct monitoring, follow up, and evaluation of target farmer groups
|· The Project conducted monitoring, follow up, and evaluation for target famer groups of the first batch in the first and the second season, 2017.|
|7. Continuously improve contents and activity flow on market-oriented agriculture based on the field experiences||· The Project has been improving the contents and activity flow on market-oriented agriculture to reflect the situations of Acholi Sub-region and based on demands and comments from the AOs and target farmer groups of the first batch.|
|8. Create favourable conditions for market-oriented agriculture||· The Project sensitised target famer groups of the first batch on market-oriented agriculture
· The Project sensitised AOs who are in charge of the model sub-counties in the three model districts through the field training.
· The Project promotes the project activities and efforts made by target farmers through inviting them to farmers’ fields and periodical communication with market dealers.
- Output 3: Practical tools to improve quality of life at household level are developed and implemented.
Output 3 activities were conducted for agricultural officers and target farmer groups of the first batch as described table 5 below.
Table 5: Activities and Achievements of Output 3
|1. Develop practical tools to improve quality of life at house hold level (e.g. family budgeting, nutrition, and gender)||· The Project developed the first version of practical tools to improve quality of life at house hold level.|
|2. Prepare training materials to improve quality of life
|· The Project prepared the first version of training materials to improve quality of life for AOs and target farmer groups of the first batch.|
|3. Conduct training on improving quality of life for agricultural officers||· Field based training for AOs of the 3 model districts was conducted in 2015.
· Training of Trainers (ToT) for all AOs in Acholi Sub-region was conducted in 2016 and TOT for newly recruited AOs was conducted in 2017.
· Refresher training for all AOs for Acholi Sub-region was conducted in 2017.
|4. Conduct training on improving quality of life for farmer groups||· The Project conducted a series of training sessions and practices for target famer groups of the first batch in the first and the second season, 2017.|
|5. Conduct monitoring, follow up, and evaluation of farmer groups
|· The Project conducted monitoring, follow up, and evaluation for target famer groups of the first batch in the first and the second season, 2017.|
|6. Continuously improve contents and activity flow on improving quality of life based on the field experiences||· The Project has been improving the contents and activity flow on improving quality of life to reflect the situations of Acholi Sub-region and based on demands and comments from the AOs and target farmer groups of the first batch.|
- Output 4: Effective dissemination methods of livelihood improvement approach are streamlined.
Output 4 activities were conducted as described table 6 below.
Table 6: Activities and their achievements of Output 4
|1. Livelihood improvement approach is formed based on Outputs 1, 2, and 3.||· The Project developed the concept of livelihood improvement approach and materials for its training.|
|2. Agricultural officers disseminate livelihood improvement approach to non-target farmers/farmer groups in the model Sub-counties.||· Many AOs of the model sub-counties started disseminating the approach to non-target farmers/farmer groups in the model Sub-counties.
· Activities related to the livelihood improvement approach are incorporated into the District Development Plan of the three model districts.
- Since 2015, the Project team has organized 2 Technical Committee (TC) Meetings and Three Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) Meetings
- The Project Activities have been promoted through Radio Program
- One project progress documentary has been made
The project will be carried out by Project Implementation Unit comprised of JICA expert team and its counterparts staff led by Project Manager. The Government of Uganda (GOU) is also expected to bear cost for support staff, office space, running expenses, fuels, and travel allowances for the Ugandan staff of the Project.
- Project Manager will be assigned by Department of Production and Marketing of MAAIF, while each district assigns District Project Coordinators to the Project. In addition to the above arrangement, agricultural extension workers in every district will work closely with Japanese experts as project counterparts to fulfil the Project objectives.
- The regional Project Head Office will be set up in Gulu District Headquarters where Project Implementation Unit is housed. Project coordinating offices will be set up in other district headquarters with necessary utilities and facilities
- The GOU will ensure facilitation of obtaining a work permit/entry permit and information regarding security for Japanese Experts to smoothly work in Uganda
Qualified Japanese experts/consultants will be involved in the project. Capacity building of the extension staff will be achieved through training courses in Japan and in-country, seminars and workshops, equipment, etc. JICA will provide the following, among others:
- Resident Expert (Chief Advisor, Coordinator, Vegetable Cropping)
- Visiting short-term Expert (Marketing, Small scale irrigation, Cooperatives, Small Credit, Agricultural Mechanization, Nutrition, etc) in accordance with requirement
- Equipment (4WD vehicles, motor bikes, computers, photocopier, public address systems）
- Inputs (training tools and materials, quality seeds, chemicals）
The project is expected to last for 5 years starting in 2015 and ending in 2020.
In 2018, mid-term review will be conducted to confirm whether the Project is conducted in accordance with set objectives and schedule.
MAAIF will take lead in the project implementation. The Department of Crop Production and Marketing headed by a Commissioner and supported by two Assistant Commissioners will be directly responsible for the Project implementation. Specialized officers of the Department in charge of each priority crop such as Maize, Rice, Cassava, Beans, Horticulture (Fruits and vegetables) will be mobilized to support the Project implementation when necessity arises. MAAIF is expected to mobilize counterpart funding to support the project implementation. The funds will be used for manpower, capacity building (allowances, training costs), fuel for office and field work, equipment, stationery, computer accessories, office space and overhead costs.
Production and Marketing Department of local government headed by District Production Coordinator (DPC) will be a coordinating body on site. Under the DPC, there are 5 officers, each in charge of crops, livestock, fisheries, entomology and commercial/marketing. It is District Agricultural Officer (Crops) that is expected to work closely with Japanese Experts as Project Coordinators representing each local government through the implementation of the Project. Amount of budget to be allocated to the department depends on the size of districts.
Agriculture extension has been until recently handled by two parallel systems, the National Agriculture Advisory Services (NAADS) and traditional extension services, but is going to be streamlined into a single spine system, which will solely be supervised by DPC. The District Production/Marketing department does not have a direct command chain with MAAIF but receives conditional grants, known as Production and Marketing Grants from MAAIF, with which it is responsible for collecting statistics at the district level, conducting and implementing activities initiated by the central government, and accordingly reporting on the grant activities.
- Procuring logistical and demonstration materials locally
- Carrying out baseline survey in the Project areas
- Training of project staff
- Organizing farmer groups
- Training farmers in market oriented production
- Logistical and demonstration items procured
- Baseline survey carried out.
- At least 20 staff from MAAIF headquarters and 7 districts in Acholi sub-region mobilized and assigned project duties.
- At least 20 farmer groups organized in market oriented agricultural production.
- At least 500 farmers befitted in the project
Downloadable Relevant Documents
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