The Feed the Future Uganda Agriculture Research Activity is a research and development initiative that seeks to promote use and commercialization of improved crop and livestock technologies with yield and nutrition enhancing characteristics. The Activity directly supports Development Objectives 1 and 3 in USAID/Uganda’s Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS) 2016-2021.
In order to achieve this objective, the activity focuses on the continued improvement of crop genetics, bio-fortification, integrated pest and disease management for eight commodities; root crops (cassava and sweet potatoes), coffee, semi-arid/dryland crops (sorghum, millet and green gram), banana, beans, maize, potato, and livestock (indigenous chicken).
During the first year of implementation, the Banana Program team participated in conducting baseline and market studies; establishing strategic partnerships and systems for commercialization.
Scaling Banana Market in Northern Uganda
Stakeholder consultations on scaling of banana in northern Uganda revealed a potentially huge banana market in the region, Southern Sudan and Sudan, presenting significant business opportunities for the farmers in these areas. Banana is intended to change the communities of Northern Uganda from depending on volatile, unstable annual cropping systems to more stable and reliable perennial cropping systems thereby improving and stabilizing their food and income security. Preliminary findings of a detailed market study showed that bananas were more profitable compared to key staples such as sim-sim, soya-beans, beans, groundnuts etc, with profitability margins of Ush6.2million/acre/year compared to rice’s Ush2.6million, groundnuts’ Ush2.0million or soybean’s Ush1.4million.
Other findings revealed that bananas consumed in Acholi and Lango sub-regions alone were worth Ush25.99billion and that most of them are sourced from other areas justifying the need to increase production in the region from 27.5 to 80 bunches/acre/month.
In partnership with the private sector, two multi-stakeholder innovation platforms for Banana and Semi-arid/dryland crops were formed. The Banana platform participated in the profiling and selection of four banana products (Green/Natural Starch, Industrial Ethanol, fiber and long shelf life fresh banana). Currently, the market study to assess the domestic and export market potential for four flagship banana products is ongoing and experiments to inform feasibility of production at scale have commenced.
Credit: Feed the Future Uganda
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