Using multi-stakeholder processes for capacity development in an agricultural value chain, Uganda


The vegetable oilseed sub-sector is one of seven strategic areas selected by the Ugandan Government’s Poverty Eradication Action Plan. Oilseeds account for over 60 percent of the country’s vegetable oil production, and directly affect the livelihoods of over 12 million Ugandans. However, production cannot meet domestic demand: around 6o percent of the vegetable oil consumed in Uganda is imported as crude palm oil and blended with locally produced sunflower oil.

Multi-stakeholder platforms are a key vehicle for building capacities in the value chain. They promote shared understanding, collaboration, and innovation. This intervention focused on establishing effective national and regional platforms, while strengthening the capacities of specific actors. The platforms engage producer organizations, small-, mid- and large-sized processors, input suppliers, traders and warehouse owners, government agencies, research organizations, higher learning institutions , financial institutions, business development service providers, and development organizations.

Development results

Dialogue and concerted action brought greater efficiency throughout the value chain and within four years there were significant gains, not just in engaging farmers, but also in production, productivity, and farmers’ incomes. Sunflower became the leading raw material for edible oil processing in Uganda and there was substantial import substitution of palm oils. All this is currently helping the country to save some $100 million per year. Sesame and maize oil production has also increased.

As a result of increased interaction between actors in the value chain, several input suppliers collaborated to make better seed varieties available to farmers. Better harvest collection practices brought efficiency gains to both farmers and processors. A rural market information system
empowered farmers, better price arrangements benefitted both farmers and traders, and more effective practices and implements were extended. Banks, meanwhile, created new financial products for small farmers, and a number of actors joined to successfully advocate for more conducive government policies and financing for this sub-sector.

In the former conflict areas of eastern, northern, and northwestern Uganda particularly, the sunflower industry was revived and annual production rose steadily to over 300,000 tonnes in 2009. The price of oilseeds also grew from some UGS 200 per kilo (€0.05) in 2007 to UGS 700 per kilo (€0.18) in 2010, with a corresponding rise in farmer incomes. Poor households also benefitted from more stable conditions for marketing their product. Some 100,000 farmers now produce oilseed, benefitting more than 500,000 people. It is estimated that in the long term, some 400,000 farmers and their families could benefit.

Enhanced performance

The interventions helped create multistakeholder dialogue and actions. They made producer groups stronger, which helped them develop into market-led cooperatives. They also brokered access to value chain financing, created business-to-business links, helped service providers organize themselves into clusters, and supported advocacy for effective public policy management.

SNV Uganda involved local capacity builders in planning, processing, implementing, and evaluating the activities, and in documenting the results.

The key growth in capacity has been the development of multi-stakeholder relations, which have been substantially improved by active dialogue. An external evaluation, using the 5C framework, showed that the ability to relate has grown strongly, both within the value chain and with external actors. That, in turn, has significantly strengthened the value chain’s ability to deliver meaningful development results.

Support to the capacity development process

National investments

The potential of the vegetable oilseed subsector has been realized by the value chain actors themselves. These actors generated further interest in the sector’s development among donors and other development organizations, researchers, public institutions, NGOs, and local and international financial institutions.

Government policies on liberalization and privatization were conducive to the sector’s development by creating an enabling environment for investments. Restored peace provided political stability, which, in turn, contributed to the return of farming families. Production was also boosted by rising global food prices and a high national population growth and demand for food, including cooking oils. An expanding domestic market and the wider East African market have contributed to make the sector more dynamic.

Ugandan commercial banks also supported the process. An agricultural loan guarantee scheme with Stanbic Commercial Bank was negotiated for oilseed farmers to access loans for ploughing implements with a 50 percent guarantee from donors, which benefitted 50,000 producers. The Centenary Bank developed an Animal Traction Loan (leasing), secured by business contracts between farmers and processors, using farmers’ Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations.

Development partners’ support

SNV collaborated with Wageningen and Makerere universities, local consultants, and NGOs to provide flexible capacity development for the multi-stakeholder processes and to groups within the value chain. The team provided between 100 and 300 days of input per year.

As the collaboration within the value chain grew, it attracted donor contributions. The national multi-stakeholder process negotiated a guarantee scheme from DANIDA for the Uganda National Agro Dealers Association to access imported hybrid seeds from Mukwano Industries and to distribute them to farmers. USAID and DANIDA support helped to set up practical demonstrations of how to improve agronomy practices. IFAD and the Uganda Government committed to support the production of local hybrid varieties.

Find out more

Please contact Bernard Conilh de Beyssac
Senior Advisor, Agriculture, SNV Uganda
Phone: + 256 414 563 200

Year of publication: 
LenCD "Capacity: Results"
Themes and sectors: 
Agriculture, fisheries, and food security

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