Innovation Platforms for Food Security in Eastern and Southern Africa

Mar 2, 2018 9:40 AM ET
A beehive house in Tegeres village. Photo: ACIAR

A project in Uganda is empowering smallholder dairy and honey farmers to control their own community development by gaining access to high-value markets.

The project, funded by ACIAR and run by the World Agroforestry Centre, has been operating since 2015 and aims to bring farmers together through innovation platforms (IP), enabling farming communities to take a collective approach to common problems.

The biggest challenge facing smallholder communities around the world is accessing high-value markets and receiving the best possible return for their produce—a monetary difference impacting livelihoods and food security.

Recent reports back from the participating communities in Uganda have provided encouraging signs that the project— Developing value chain innovation platforms to improve food security in east and southern Africa— is starting to pay dividends.

"An innovation platform is like a tower, when we are on it we will see far and others will see us," says the Chairman of the Kapchorwa district honey IP project. "The farmers now appreciated the benefits of teamwork and knowledge that each farmer can bring to the group that they are developing their honey business, and are now partnering with local government," he says.

The project’s success has seen the IP establish a savings account, with members aiming to have 2000 improved beehives by 2025.