Last month, Dr Alexandra Peralta from the Centre for Global Food and Resources, travelled to Uganda and Zambia where she helped to facilitate a series of multi-stakeholder workshops.
These workshops are part of the activities under the ACIAR project, “Developing value chain innovation platforms to improve food security in East and Southern Africa – VIP4FS”. The VIP4FS project promotes the formation of coalitions of stakeholders, or innovation platforms, to promote market opportunities for smallholder farmers in Eastern and Southern Africa.
Dr Peralta facilitated these workshops together with colleagues from the International Agroforestry Centre, Copperbelt University, Zambia Agricultural Research Institute (ZARI), Makerere University, National Forestry Resources Research Institute (NaFORRI), and Kapchorwa District Landcare Chapter (KADLAC). Two workshops were conducted in Solwezi, Zambia (14-15 June), and five in the Mt Elgon region in Uganda: three in Kapchorwa (22-24 June) and two in Manafwa (27-28 June).
The main objective of these workshops was to bring on board stakeholders interested in improving market opportunities. The workshops were attended by farmers, traders, local processors, representatives of governmental and non-governmental organisations.
The value chains examined in Uganda were coffee, dairy,and honey; while those examined in Zambia were Solwezi beans, soya beans and local chicken.
The workshops were conducted using a participatory process whereby workshop participants mapped the value chain, identified actors along the chain, worked together on a value chain vision and identification of potential partners, and identified key strategic issues that need to be addressed to achieve this vision.
Some of the identified strategic issues included low yields, poor product quality, poor group organisation, counterfeit inputs, and lack of market information.
Dr Peralta is continuing to work closely with project partners to design and implement field experiments to test different approaches to overcome these issues.