Securing Markets in a time of Lockdown

Self Help AfricaAgriculture & Nutrition, Enterprise Development, Kenya, News, Uganda

A Self Help Africa venture that links rural poor farmers to markets has helped growers in East Africa earn close to €100,000 for their crops in recent weeks, despite the market disruptions caused by COVID-19 to their supply chains.

Paying farmers via mobile money for their avocado, mango and sorghum crops, the TruTrade social enterprise is providing practical market linkage support at a critical time. 

TruTrade is making direct mobile payments to farmers and also traceability, and are thus reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission within smallholder supply chains in Uganda and Kenya.

Since the situation escalated, TruTrade have been able to continue providing smallholders with access to market despite restrictions to movement and buyer uncertainty. 

In Kenya, TT has sourced over 6MT of avocado in recent weeks – or about 24,000 pieces – all for export markets. Volumes and prices have been lower than we had planned but the situation is beginning to improve. In March, there had been a lot of concern about the entry of fresh produce to European ports, with fears of priority for dried and tinned produce. Other recent orders in Kenya include 7MT of mango for local markets from 25 farmers. 

In Uganda we are coming to the end of the main harvest season but still managed to source 37MT of sesame and 18MT of white sorghum since restrictions came into force. We are working hard to get deliveries to buyers, including sorting out all the cleaning, packaging, testing and export documentation to move 100MT of white sorghum to a purchaser in Burundi. 

It is now the planting season in Uganda and farmers are very unsure of what to do. We have sent messages to all the farmers registered with us to assure them we will be sourcing their produce once it is ready in July/August.