PSFU, Pulses Value Chain Players Team Up to Boost Sector Crops

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Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) has joined hands with the pulse crops value chain players under Guide Leisure Farm to enhance trade and production of these grains. The target crops include beans, groundnuts, soya, cowpeas, among others.

Like other crops, the pulse crops value chain faces challenges, including diminishing yields, strong pests and diseases, and market price fluctuations.

Despite high local consumption, these crops have not acquired a fair share of the international market compared to other grains like cereals.

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The need to address these issues for improved sector performance is the reason behind the new joint efforts from all concerned parties.

The collaboration seeks to bring together at least 70,000 small and medium-holder farmers, as well as other players within this sector, at different levels to strategize, share experiences, and lobby for necessary interventions.

Speaking to journalists ahead of the inaugural spotlighting event of the sector on 4th March 2024, Francis Kisirinya, the PSFU Chief Membership Officer, alluded to the fact that these legumes are not only beneficial to humans through the provision of proteins but are also a key component in maintaining soil fertility.

He adds that these crops have a lot of untapped potential all along the value chain up to the plate, and PSFU is ready to join in these efforts.

Kisirinya says the Pulses Sector is very much integrated into people’s lives, and its challenges only required a platform where they could be effectively addressed.

“The pulses industry has suffered significant price fluctuations because it is not organized enough to negotiate for better prices.

Statistics show that up to 20 percent of the would-be yield of beans is lost to pests and diseases; the cost of production for these crops is also high, and that’s why farmers prefer other crops.

So we need to deal with the cost side, the input side, as well as the technical side of the extension services, and all this will be distilled in this symposium,” he explained.

Florence Nampeera, a medium-holder farmer and also the Guide Leisure Farm team lead for the districts of Kyotera and Rakai, points out that many small and medium holders, especially the young farmers, are interested in building a stronger pulses value chain, and this initiative will be a step forward in the line of their desired business objective.

To propel the sector discussion, they organized a sector spotlighting symposium for all stakeholders, and Prof Gudula Nayiga Basazza, the CEO of Guide Leisure Farm, mentions that this private sector-led initiative aims at exposing the many opportunities in this sector, the sector’s emerging developments, as well as their implementations.

She adds that these crops are not only for food but are also used for industrial development and employment creation, and that’s why they should be given attention.

Nayiga adds that the partnership activities will help to identify the missing links at every level in the value chain.

“Farmers will get to understand the different varieties of these pulses, especially beans that have been developed by NARO, and how they are cared for to maximize productivity, as well as the post-harvest handling to maintain quality,” she said.

According to Nayiga, Uganda has enough capacity to satisfy its protein concentrate for its animal industry, but it still imports it from abroad, mainly because of the missing links in the pulses value chain, which are now going to be addressed.

Food and Agricultural Organization statistics show that in the year ending 2022, Uganda exported up to 29,107.92 tons of pulses, worth USD 15.707 million, which was 84 percent lower than the USD 98.163 million earned from the same crops in 2021.

On the other hand, the country imported up to 28,671.96 tons in the year ending 2022.

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