Project Description

The project aims to support Ugandan smallholder farmers to efficiently bulk and process maize to sell to regional wholesalers. Joseph Initiative Ltd. (JI) takes an integrated approach to trading, combining rural collection centres with village buying agents to collect maize in small quantities from remote farmers and making payments to them on the spot. This trading model provides a predictable market that incentivizes smallholders to improve quality and intensify production.

Joseph Initiative’s business model concentrates on “bottom of the pyramid” farmers producing 1 metric ton or less per year, as they are below the aggregation thresholds for commercial traders. A reliable market and access to inputs and finance will increase farmers’ incomes. Inclusion of a large number of producers, increasing productivity and potentially reducing the current 40% post-harvest losses could lead to substantial improvement in Uganda’s food security.

Current status

The financing resources provided by the CFC have been invested in a new processing facility and are being used as working capital which is crucial for the growth of a grain trading business. JI continues to grow and has been able to attract additional strategic equity investors in 2016. In the same year 13,000 smallholder farmers delivered maize to the companies village outlets for bulking and processing. Strategic investors such as Dutch Impact Investing Fund and the philanthropic arm of De Rijke Family (Kruidvat) continued with their participation in the project.

To further integrate smallholder farmers into the value chain, JI plans to use its established village collection centre network to provide extended services for smallholders such as the provision of fertilizer, pesticides and improved hybrid seed material coupled with seasonal loans extended by local Financial Institutions who show interest to expand into agricultural lending. In addition, JI is currently developing systematic training curricula for their supplier farmers, which would lead to an increase of their yields, and therefore also to JI’s trading volume.

Organization: Joseph Initiative Ltd. (JI) Project: CFC/2013/03/0120
Country: Uganda Commodity: Maize
Total Cost: USD 1,929,000 CFC Financing: USD 500,000 (financed by the Dutch Trust Fund)

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