Training smallholder farmers Cooperatives in Kasese district on Business Development.
Much of the Agripoint Initiatives training focused on helping the smallholder farmers to know how to make money in farming, manage money and reinvest. The training conducted was participatory and delivered closed to farmer’s homes. Although it was harvesting period – a busy time for farmers in the area, a reasonable number participated fully and shared their business experiences. The training was led by Agripoint Initiatives in partnership with Afrokai Uganda Limited – one of the key commodity buyers in the region.
The team’s first training sessions covered the benefits of the principles of business which include investing with profit motive, understanding the market, record keeping, building relationships and continuity, planning, analyzing the business environment and managing the risks. The smallholder farmers in the cooperatives actively engaged in exploring how the principles can help them run the farming enterprise as successful businesses. Agripoint Initiatives BDS expert trainer Samson Peter Okalebo took the lead in explaining the business principles, demonstrating effective business planning and decision-making fundamental for enterprise development. Furthermore, he demonstrated how to use available resources, budget, price and market the commodities. Throughout his sessions, he introduced smallholder farmers to calculations and showed them how to make money and scale up production by maximizing the planting space, increasing the acreage and pay attention to the quality needed by the market.
A second training sessions conducted by Agripoint Initiatives BDS expert trainer Charity Busingye focused on financial discipline to help the farmers manage the money and reinvest in the agricultural related business that brings back the money.
The two-day session ended with a discussion of increased access to quality inputs, sustainable market linkage and how to plan business to develop moving forward.
“This will help farmers to produce large quantity and sell commodities from our farms that profits us,” said Masereka Aaron Isebura chairparson of Bigando Farmers Group. “It will help us to produce quality produce needed by the market so as to increase the chances of acceptances.”
Personally, I found it thrilling to participate in the training in simple setting so close to home, and to see how business development skills apply on daily farm operations, and help help farmers around my community. I also learned new market opportunities and how to tap from the available knowledge systems so that I can excel in my farming business.
Farmer Muliki Jolly from Kyabarungira Revolutional Farmers Group described to the way she used to keep the local seed in the kitchen and replant when rains fall. First, I could select the bigger combs and hang them on the kitchen roof. At the beginning of rain season, I would prepare seeds and incase of shortage, I could reach to my neighbors and friend for help. I had given little attention to improved varieties sold in the markets because I never used to plan my money for seed purchase. I am humbled with the training; I have learnt that I need to improve my farming in order to make money. Currently I am saving and I plan to buy improved seeds, fertilizers and do everything in time do that I can produce high and quality yields that will sell together with groups members so that I can get more money.
Thembo Isaka, also from Kyabarungira Revolutional Farmers Group, said he is excited about the new opportunities that the business development opens up for him. He explained that he already has a lot of land to put in production, but he has to always leave home to markets to identify they need. In so doing, he hopes will be networking and building relationships that will pay back to long-term operations of his farming business.
Faith Tembo from Rwesande Hope for Uganda Farmers Group says she did not how effective communication can help in getting her better price. In training, she learnt marketing language and skills, that she believes she lacked.