ICRISAT works with Uganda's agricultural research institutions such as the National Semi-Arid Resources Research Institute (NaSARRI
) to help smallholder farmers get more yield and value out of major drylands crops such as groundnut, sorghum, pearl millet and finger millet.
Groundnut is a major legume crop, after bean. A recent extensive study across the main groundnut production areas reveals interesting findings such as the lack of farmers' awareness (46%) about improved varieties and different roles between women (retail) and men (traders) along the value chain. Adoption of improved varieties depends on multiple drivers. Farmers who are better off are likely to adopt new varieties, and the more farmers adopt, the more they are keen to experiment with other improved varieties.
In Northern Uganda where annual rainfall is below 800 mm, finger millet is a key food crop. Early-maturing variety Seremi 2 yields better than local varieties and has traits such as ease of threshing and blast resistance.
Sesame, an oilseed crop, can generate significant income for farmers in the Northern and Eastern part of the country. Uganda is the 5th largest sesame producer. However, an analysis of the value chain shows that farmers could get benefit through better seeds, adequate equipment to facilitate planting at the right time, as well as organizing themselves to fetch better prices.
Promoting more climate-resilient cropping systems such as a sorghum-legume system is important as the Northern region is frequently struck by droughts. Moreover, predictions show that a majority of farmers will be negatively impacted by climate change [ref CCAFS].
To improve smallholders' livelihoods, you need inclusive and innovative agricultural value chains. Following a successful model in India, ICRISAT is helping set up a food processing business incubator that links research, the private sector and farmers.