[TAGDev Story] Fostering Long-term Agricultural Supply Chains for Smallholder Farmers

Finding the right market for grains at the right price is difficult, especially in farming communities in Northern Uganda. Meet Robine Okello, a TAGDev scholar who studied Agri Enterprise Development at the Master’s level at Gulu University. He is currently a volunteer at the African Union Commission in Ethiopia, where he is in charge of industrial policies and Agri-value chain analysis.

The COVID-19 Lockdown forced Okello to flee Gulu for Lira, where he worked to support farmers in the community as part of his social enterprise course requirement. He founded LAPIT Blessed Produce Store (SMC), also known as “Family Store Produce Enterprises,” to provide small-scale farmers with consistent market access at reasonable prices for their grain production.

Okello also aimed to digitize agricultural value chains and build sustainable agricultural supply chains to boost smallholder farmers’ incomes and confidence in investing in production. This creates rural employment opportunities, particularly for youth as village agents, and enables agribusinesses to source sustainably and create shared value.

His savings from the stipend provided the initial financial contribution for the business, which was followed by a USD5,000 grant from RUFORUM and a USD20,000 grant from Impact Her. The store sells a variety of goods, including rice, beans, sesame, and posho. He decided to add value to maize so that it could be distributed to schools.

The business’s distinguishing feature is that it sells higher quality products than its competitors, giving customers exactly what they want. He has linked his business to a community model and established a network of local farmers from whom he sources produce. Farmers are encouraged to continue producing because they expect to profit from their output, and he does not defraud them.

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