AgResults, a multi-donor initiative between the governments of Australia, Canada, the US and the UK, as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced today the launch of the AgResults Uganda Legume Seeds Pilot in Kampala, Uganda. The pilot aims to improve access and availability of high quality legume seeds to improve health and nutritional outcomes of people living in Uganda.
“We welcome such an initiative to build a vibrant private sector that provides healthy, and affordable legume crops to all Ugandans,” said Opolot Okasaai, Director Crop Resources, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries, who presided over the event, “By using these cash prizes, we will work to ensure our markets are strong and sustainable for years to come.”
The pilot was officially launched at the Protea Hotel in Kampala where seed companies displayed legume seed varieties that will be produced and sold during the pilot implementation period.
The AgResults Uganda Legume Seed Pilot operates a pull mechanism (also known as a prize competition) in order to incentivize seed companies to overcome market barriers and enter into the legume seed market in Uganda. The pilot provides cash awards to those companies who are able to find solutions to market challenges in the legume seed value chain. Through this approach, the initiative works to build a stronger, more competitive, and sustainable legume seed market that serves all Ugandans and beyond.
In addition to providing cash incentives, AgResults, together with Lutheran World Relief (LWR), who acts as the pilot manager, offers access to humidity and temperature-controlled storage to participating seed companies to encourage them to increase production and sales of improved high quality legume seeds as much as possible and allowing the seed companies to re-invest and grow their business year to year. By making conditioned seed storage facilities available, the pilot will partially insulate seed companies against losing quality seed or/and selling it as grain, uncertain demand, and against price volatility.
Attendees at the launch included: all representatives from major seed companies operating in Uganda; AgResults representative; government ministries, departments and agencies; agro-input distributors and dealers; development partners involved in seeds and related agro-inputs; and all organizations and individuals involved in the legume value chain. The overwhelming attendance from the various actors in the development and seed sectors showed incredible support for such a new and innovative approach to improving seed markets in Africa.