In 2015, Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) and Deutsche Gesellschaft Fur International Zusammenarbeit GmH (GIZ) carried out nationally represented household survey to find out financial and agricultural lives of smallholder households in Uganda. The study looked at 3,240 smallholder households in the sample. There are estimated 3m smallholder farmers in Uganda forming part of the estimated 500m worldwide.
Study findings published in Agricultural Year Book 2015, overall, smallholder farmers in Uganda are acutely conscious of best practices for financial management of their household as well as their farm.
According to report, majority of farmers are proud of their work and are not about to abandon their trade. According to report, when asked, do you intend to keep working in agriculture, 88 percent said yes.
When asked whether they enjoy doing agriculture, 90 percent (of 3,240 sample) said Yes. On whether they considered farming as business, 63 percent said Yes and 34 percent said No.
They perceived it important to take care of their land, and they knew what they need to do to care for it. The report notes that farmers considered savings and other financial tools as important as well as education and planning for the unexpected, however, they often lack agency to pursue these priorities.
Also read: How to transform Uganda’s agriculture
The farmers acknowledged that agriculture shapes their identity, their legacy to their children, or where they see opportunities for financial growth and investment, compared to their many other income streams.
However, not all is well. One-third 3,240 farmers sampled reported that they do not have enough money for food: ‘‘yet there is immense pride in agriculture, and what they have achieved for their families.’’
For typical smallholder farmer in Uganda, each crop is grown for multiple purposes. Most households typically sold and consumed what they grew, with majority barely selling anything.
Over two thirds of smallholder farmers keep livestock for home consumption, sale or more so for investment. With half of them keeping them as an investment.
Majority of the farmers sell their produce largely outside of contracts. The numbers of farmers who sell through written contracts are negligible.
Majority sell their produce through loose value chains, close to their locations mostly in village or local market and paid largely in cash. They sell their produce to local market largely because they lack transport to other markets.
The also purchased their inputs regularly in cash from nearby retail agricultural shop.
The report notes that smallholder farmers in Uganda demonstrate a great deal of diversity in household management, farming choices and value chain relationships.
Over half of smallholder farmers have been farming for more than decade. However, there were also new entrants. Majority (76%) of the smallholder farmers are typically male, yet farming decisions were not as gendered.
The findings reveal some crops are more important to these farmers: Maize, beans, cassava, and coffee. When asked which crop you get the most money from selling, the farmers listed Maize (25) Beans (15%), Coffee (11%), and Groundnut (7%) SimSim (6%)
Education and investment
Many of the farmers appreciate and prioritize their farms and educating their children. They consider saving as important especially for school fees, however very few are bale to regularly put some money aside as saving. With many of them saying, they lacked reserves to help them through emergencies. In such hard, many depend upon family and friends.
Those who manage to put aside something, save through friends and family.