The agriculture sector is dominant in Uganda’s economy. Not only is the country able to produce a wide variety of foods, but it does so in large quantities. The agricultural sector also employs 82% of Uganda’s workforce although it consists largely of subsistence smallholder farmers. Therefore in order for poverty reduction, especially among the rural poor, there is a need for their productivity to increase through trainings, a solution provided by BRAC.
BRAC started the agriculture programme in Uganda to improve the livelihood and food security of people in rural areas by increasing their productivity. This involved changing subsistence agriculture to more commercial farming as these practices are expected to generate greater income, create more jobs in the rural areas and ensure better food security. Our activities included training and providing access to information on crop production, providing credit services through our microfinance programme, and supplying high quality inputs (disease resistant seeds, fertilisers and pesticides) at an affordable cost.
At the community level, the agricultural services are delivered through self-employed entrepreneurs called community agriculture promoters, who serve as outreach agents. These entrepreneurs are typically female farmers who are selected from our microfinance clients. This approach is a synergy between the microfinance platform and agriculture services, which is an outcome of the multifaceted benefits of microfinance.
We started poultry and livestock interventions to increase the productivity of poultry and livestock by reducing mortality and improving rearing practices and the genetic potential of poultry and livestock. We improve the income of farmers by offering a package of support which includes training, supply of inputs, technical assistance and extension services. We train and support entrepreneurs (community livestock promoters and artificial insemination promoters) who provide free information and at the same time ensure vaccination services, artificial insemination services for a nominal charge, and make essential inputs accessible and available for livestock farmers within the community.