August 2020 was a record-breaking month for TruTrade Uganda. We sourced 330MT of produce from smallholder farmers, the highest volume since the business began. This comprised of 291MT Soyabean and 39MT sesame seed worth $104k. There were 920 farmer transactions with 652 farmers (163 females and 489 males) using the service, earning an average income of $200.
This all took place amidst the COVID 19 pandemic, with the challenges of limited mobility and social distancing. TruTrade has been using virtual communication to provide farmers assurance of the service, agri-advisory messages to support Good Agricultural practices and has an Agent WhatsApp group to maintain efficient communication contact.
We have also supported farmers to diversify production in line with market demand. This is the first season TruTrade have sourced Soyabean from Kitgum and Lamwo districts in Northern Uganda, an area where farmers predominantly grow sesame. In the Albertine Districts of Hoima and Kikuube, TT sourced sesame from the small holder farmers for the first time.
“The increase in the volume sourced is due to the confidence we created in the market. Messages sent out in April during the initial stages of the lockdown played a crucial role in encouraging farmers to plant. We put in place Standard Operating Procedures in adherence to the Ministry of Health guidelines, the measures were displayed at the agents collection points in local dialects and have helped us to ensure we provide safe supply chains. A dedicated team from Kampala plus the Area Supervisors upcountry have worked with a lot of flexibility and zeal to provide the market connect services to small holder farmers” says Paul Mpagi, TruTrade Uganda Country Lead.