Refugee farmers in west Nile linked to export buyers

todayJanuary 4, 2023

By Godwin Abedican


Palm corps international together with other partner organisations like Welt Hunger Hilfe, Norwegian Refugee Council and Action Against Hunger, under the Building Self-reliance in Northern Uganda project in the refugee settlements in West Nile in a bid to improve on the earnings among the farmers in the settlements and host communities, have come in to save the farmers from exploitation by agents who always set very low prices for purchasing their farm products. Under this project the farmers are linked directly to exporters of their products who come to purchase the produce from the different collection centers set in the settlements at fair prices.

Since the period of December is for harvesting and selling of simsim, many agents have currently infiltrated the settlements with different Prices ranging between 3,500 and 3,800 shillings per kilogram of simsim which the farmers say is very. The partners have hence set a price of 4,000 shillings per kilogram at which the exporters are reportedly buying directly from the farmers.

The project currently has 490 beneficiaries out of the five thousand farmers targeted to benefit. Out of those already benefiting, 50% are refugee while the other 50% are members of the host communities, with 65% of the beneficiaries women who are being empowered to join farming and produce selling something that has been previously dominated by men.

According to Mawa Stephen the chairperson of Emmanuel farmers group village 20, zone 2 Imvepi refugee settlement, since as refugees they are only given small pieces of land they always make efforts to enlarge their farm land to have beater yields. “We were given 25X25 maters of land and as being farmers we tried to make good relationship with the nationals and we are able to hire from the nationals so that we can increase our farm land. I planted 2 acres of then I sold 210Kgs and I have reserved 50 Kg” he said. Benard Eyotre, an agent in Ocea refugee settlement says the partners are simply pushing them out of the business by setting very high price which at which they as locals can’t afford to buy for resale to other buyers making them to be pushed out of the business and yet as locals they are supposed to benefit from the establishment of the settlements.

Albert Azuu, the value chain development officer Palm Corps international under project says since they give the farmers the inputs and it becomes unfair for the farmers to be cheated. According to him if the agents can be fairer enough to the farmers than there would be no need for them to step in.
For the period between 4th and 14th of December 2022, the farmers have been able to save a total of 26,993,500 shillings on 53.987 metric tons to of simsim that would have gone to the agents as profits or commissions if they had sold their produce at 3,500 shillings per kilogram as set by the agents with a gross income of 215,948,000 shillings. Among the export buyers include Agri Exim Uganda limited, Agri Energy Uganda limited and Gadco that have been buying directly from the farmers through the links by the partners.

Currently Building Self-reliance in Northern Uganda project is being implemented in the districts of Terego, Yumbe and Adjumani, with Welt Hunger Hilfe being responsible for Terego district, Norwegian Refugee Council responsible for production related activities in Yumbe and action against hunger in Adjumani as Palm corps helps the farmers access better markets.

Share this article

Follow us on Twitter
Follow us on Facebook