Impact of the Consortium Approach to Food Value Chain Development on the Incomes of Smallholder Farmers in Uganda and Rwanda
Agriculture, as one of the most important sectors in the East African Community (EAC) accounts for about 80% of the workforce, including smallholder farmers in rural areas. In spite of this, the EAC is characterized by low agricultural productivity and low incomes, and is rated among the poorest in Africa. The consortiumapproach under the Regional East African Community Trade in Staples (REACTS) project implemented by the Kilimo Trust is a response to address the gaps oflow agriculturalproductivity and the low incomes of smallholder farmers and other actors in the value chain. The paper assessed and analysed the effectiveness of the consortium approach as opposed to the conventional approach to food value chain development in improving the productivity and incomes of smallholder farmers in Uganda and Rwanda. A multi-stage/stratified random sampling method was used to select the value chain actors. Semistructured questionnaires, key informant guides and focus group discussion guides were used to obtain information from the respondents. A total of 374 respondents were sampled from allthe districts. Data collected were coded and analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences, descriptive statistics, inferential statistics and cost benefit analysis. The result of the study provides evidence-based information on the effect of the consortium approach on the productivity and profitability of smallholder farmers with a view to promoting scalability and sustainability of the consortium approach in the EAC. The findings also revealed the critical success factors for the sustainability of the consortium approach; the strength, weakness, opportunity and threat (SWOT) for further development in the value chain.
Keywords: Agriculture, Consortium Approach, Smallholder farmers, Productivity, Income.