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Commercialising chilli production

Farm Africa is spicing up Uganda’s chilli sector. Huge market demand for African bird’s eye chillies represents an incredible opportunity for small-scale chilli farmers. In partnership with the North East Chilli Producers Association (NECPA), this project will enable small-scale chilli farmers to capitalise on unmet demand for the hot commodity.

The problem

Uganda has one of the highest rates of poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, poverty is increasingly concentrated in the country’s northern and eastern regions. Between 2006 and 2013, agriculture contributed to 79% of poverty reduction in Uganda.

Growing demand for high-quality African bird’s eye chillies outstrips supply. Many small-scale farmers living in Lira District in northern Uganda are growing ABE chillies. However, a lack of capital, quality equipment and seeds is holding chilli producers and agribusinesses back from entering lucrative high-end markets.

What are we doing?

Farm Africa is helping NECPA adopt a more market-orientated business model, which will open up new export opportunities to chilli farmers. Working with 17,000 farmers and selling 44% of all exported Uganda chillies in 2017, NECPA is a key player in the chilli industry.

With the support of Farm Africa, NECPA is helping chilli growers gain access to quality seeds and equipment, increase their yields and meet international buyers’ quality standards. This will include:

  • Developing the tools and training materials that the NECPA extension team need to deliver specialised training to its network of smallholder chilli producers.
  • Providing 3,000 farmers with agronomic support and planning tools so that they can meet buyers’ need for certified, timely and large instalments of produce.
  • Training agricultural extension officers and input suppliers to train farmers in appropriate post-harvest handling and water and soil management.
  • Training young people to make chilli drying racks, organic fertilisers and pesticides.
  • Supporting seed multipliers to grow consistent volumes of in-demand ABE chilli seeds.
  • Training young people to build and sell solar dryers, enabling farmers to preserve their chillies ready for export.

Farm Africa is also helping farmers address cash flow problems by connecting them to village-level credit facilities and building their financial literacy. We are helping small and medium-sized enterprises gain access to commercial finance so they can hire the staff and purchase the equipment they need to improve their businesses.

We are helping NECPA identify the costs and benefits of enrolling farmers onto different certification schemes and develop the technical, business, marketing and financial skills they need to gain appropriate accreditations.

Alongside the technical support they provide farmers, NECPA offers psychosocial support to their members, the majority of whom have been deeply affected by war.

This project is part-funded by aBi Development Ltd.