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For several years Farm Concern International has carried out various value chain analysis, implemented various programmes and worked closely with smallholder farmers and buyers that deal with Sweet Potato. The Sweet Potato is known as the world’s most versatile and under-exploited food crop produced mostly by smallholder households in over 100
developing countries and ranked 5th on fresh-weight basis after rice, wheat, maize and cassava (FAOSTAT 1998). Farm Concern International is working with smallholder farmers in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda with a keen focus on commercialization of the Sweet Potato. Currently 95.6 million tons produced annually by ten most leading producing countries (FAOSTAT 2012) with Uganda and Tanzania ranked second and fifth globally with a production of 2.8 metric tons and 1.4 metric tons. The Seed-Farmer- Markets-Consumer (SeFaMaCo) Model and program developed and implemented by FCI through the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has the aim of ensuring that there is synergy from the farm to the markets and ultimately to the end consumer.
A landscape analysis conducted recently by FCI found out that the farm gate value for sweet potatoes currently in Uganda is estimated at USD 0.19 Billion (20%) with a potential value of USD 0.92 Billion and a commercial loss of USD 0.73 Billion while Tanzania currently records a farm gate value of USD 0.15 Billion (15%) with a potential of USD1.0 Billion and recording a commercial farm gate value loss of USD 0.85 Billion. Ethiopia on the other hand records USD 0.03 Billion (27%) as farm gate value with a potential of USD 0.11 Billion and an annual commercial loss of USD 0.08 Billion. These were derived after carrying out a cost benefit analysis conducted with smallholder farmers which estimated the farm gate value per metric ton as follows; USD 68 in Uganda, USD 62.5 in Tanzania and USD 79 in Ethiopia. Strategic investment in commercialization through the Commercial Zones and Commercial Village Models will create mechanisms for effective supply chains management by all actors along the sweet potatoes value chain.
For example by investing in the Sweet Potato value chain in Uganda through seed enterprises (informal, local and formal systems) and by the commercialization of production systems through the Commercial Village Model as well as market based interventions which are aimed at realigning the value chain performance this will have a direct impact on the current production currently estimated at 17,032,800 MT. This will ultimately feed more people in Uganda and the neighboring countries thereby increasing its production thereby inching closer to the world leader (China) that produces.81,175,660 MT (FAOSTAT, 2012).
FCI VISION :Commercialized smallholder communities with increased incomes for improved, stabilized & sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond.