How Value Chain Innovation Platforms are helping produce better coffee in Uganda

Dr. Prossy Isubikalu a John Dillon Fellow of Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) recently visited GFAR. Dr Prossy interacted with the GFAR team and presented on activities of an ACIAR project titled Developing value chain innovation platforms to improve food security in East and Southern Africa which is being led by World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in which GFAR is a key partner. Ā  .

Dr. Prossy Isubikalu with the GFAR staff

Prof. Randy Stringer introduced Dr. Prossy to the team of GFAR and spoke about the activities undertaken so far in the project. Dr Prossy elaborated on the development of value chain innovation platforms (VIP4S) comprising key actors from the coffee value chain in the area of Mount Elgon, Uganda.

Coffee Farmers and traders participating in discussion

The coffee farmers in Mount Elgon are predominantly smallholder farmers. Innovation platform is a forum where different actors (organizations, individuals, and institutions) come together, share knowledge, ideas, opinions, technologies to solve an identified common problem collectively. The key objectives of setting up value chain innovation platforms in this area is to identify the most feasible way of strengtheningĀ  social capital and market access for increased income and food security of smallholder farmers. Through the innovation platform there is engagement with and strengthening capacity of key stakeholders to enhance the research process and aim to promote up-scaling of project generated approaches.

Coffee cherries on the tree

The project activities undertaken so far include a farming household baseline survey to get insights into the livelihood portfolios and marketing information delivery systems, multi stakeholder analysis, rural institutional analysis, economic experiments to identify level of trust between value chain actors, coffee picker training to identify the most appropriate mix of incentives that will work best in encouraging coffee growers and producers to provide the right quality and quantity of coffee.

coffee cherries

Dr. Prossy also shared about the collaboration with Monastery Coffee through GFAR where owner and coffee expert Adam Marley visited Uganda to interact and train the coffee growers on ideal production practices. The result of this collaboration has been introduction of a specialty grade coffee in the Australian market through Monastery Coffee.

According to Dr.Prossy these interventions have helped build capacity of smallholder coffee growers and access high end markets. She also spoke of the potential of using similar research approach for the dairy value chain in the region to identify cost effective and appropriate approaches to promote the uptake of improved fodder production and feeding practices among dairy farmers.

GFAR researchers involved in this project are Prof. Randy Stringer, Dr. Daniel Gregg and Dr. Alexandra Peralta.

More information about this project is available on our website

Blog post prepared by Rohan Yargop with contribution from Dr. Prossy Isubikalu

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