Sustaining linkages to high value markets through collective action in Uganda
Uganda's rapid urbanization offers new market opportunities for smallholder farmers to supply higher value markets such as supermarket chains and fast-food restaurants. Supplying these formal outlets offers higher incomes but accessing and maintaining links to these markets requires significant upgrading in terms of product quality and business management. To meet these conditions farmers need to become more organized which requires increased levels of social capital, to strengthen internal and external relations with group members, service providers and market chain actors. One farmers' group in south-western Uganda has successfully sustained sales of potatoes to a fast-food outlet in Kampala. Farmers had to learn a series of new skills and integrate multiple technical, organizational, financial and marketing innovations. This paper outlines how collective action combined with strong leadership and an iterative market-led learning process enabled a smallholder farmers' association to meet the considerable challenges of achieving the stringent quality parameters of a modern food outlet.
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