By Frank Lukwago, New Vision/NECJOGHA
Kampala, Uganda- Ugandan farmers have failed to meet the 200,000 metric tonnes of produce needed by World Food Programme (WFP) this year.
Speaking to journalists last week, El Khidir Daloum, the WFP Uganda country director, said the market has failed to efficiently supply WFP, forcing them to procure from other markets such as Tanzania and South Africa, among others.
“This year, our target was 200,000 metric tonnes but because of the season, we shall not reach the target, hopefully the rains have improved and it will result into a better yields starting September,” he said.
Having spent $60m on 198,000 metric tonnnes during the bumper harvest last year, WFP had this year set aside $70m (UShs260b) to buy produce from farmers in Uganda.
In its initiative to contribute to the economy, WFP had designated at least 10 per cent of its procurement for small holder farmers which is proving futile.
“This year, we would like to have a target of 200,000 metric tonnes, so about 20,000 should be bought directly from small holder farmers but it has proved difficult,” he said.
The challenge, he said is the lack of coordination between farmers because most of them are stand-alone associations or farm groups.
WFP is now seeking for collaboration between different government ministries in charge of trade, agriculture and finance, in a bid to aggregate farmers to achieve reliable supplies.
Mr Dick Kamuganga, the Uganda National Farmers’ Federation President, said the season has not been good because of unpredictable weather. However, he called for concerted efforts to empower farmers.