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Food and Farming Systems Development Program: Uganda

To restore food and farming systems and the environment in Uganda

Photo of Dickson Kikyonkyo
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Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Maize Feed Nations Africa Limited

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

Operation Wealth Creation (OWC), Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives (MTIC), Ministry of Agriculture Animal husbandry and Fisheries (MAAHF), Kawanda Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), Industrial Research Institute (UIRI), National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS),Uganda Wild Life Authority (UWA), African Small Farmers (ASF), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Lushan Win Tone Engineering Technology Company, Super markets and food groceries, and Cooperative Farmer Groups, Cultural and Religious Institutions and Local Government, Joint Clinical Research Center to help in development of baby nutritional foods and special foods for the elderly and other vulnerable population. USAID, Feed the Future, Michigan State University, and Purdue- Agriculture/ Food Processing Lab (FPL).

Website of Legally Registered Entity

Website:; website still under development

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 1-3 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?


Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?


Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Uganda, covers an area of 241,038 km^2, is centrally located and will be used as a model country in East-Central Africa

What country is your selected Place located in?


Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Uganda is my home country and a place where I was born and grown up. Born in a polygamous family my father was a soldier, ex-serviceman who served in the British Common Wealth League, Second World War (1939-1945). Uganda was ruled as a British Protectorate until when it got its independence in 1962.

My father showed true patriotism for his country, was also a peasant growing food crops and rearing animals. I grew up liking my country Uganda and peasantry work, like father, like son. From the time I was born in the late 1960s, through 70s, 80s, 90s to present day, agriculture, had been the backbone of families.

In 1971, the government of Uganda was overthrown by Idi Amin, the renowned world dictator who expelled Indian traders from Uganda. The infrastructure, finance, health food and farming systems of the country were completely shuttered. In 1979, Amin was overthrown and by 1981, HIV/AIDS came in, and killed many Ugandans, including all my brothers. This formed a basis on which I built my career to become a scientist.

In October 2004, I was employed by Joint Clinical Research Center (JCRC), joined a team of scientists and doctors who implemented TREAT (The Regional Expansion of Antiretroviral Therapy) – a USAID/ PEPFAR program that has resulted in expansion of antiretroviral therapy (ART) medication throughout the country Uganda. I also participated in a number of projects by JCRC and its partners that enabled people with HIV/AIDS to have improved and prolonged living.

I actively participated in programs for strengthening systems at JCRC that resulted in accreditation of its laboratories at Lubowa, Kampala by College of American Pathologists (CAP). With a Masters degree in applied science, in addition to the the skills and experience gained positioned me as a thinker and systems innovator.Thus, seeking financial support for implementation of a program aiming at restoring food and farming systems and the environment in Uganda.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

Uganda – The Pearl of Africa is a land locked country in East - central Africa, sharing the border with South Sudan to the north, Kenya to the east, Tanzania and Rwanda to the south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Most of Uganda is situated on a plateau and three quarters of its land surface is covered by mountains and valleys with numerous swamps, lakes, and rivers. The massive depletion of vegetation has resulted in Uganda soils becoming barren, dusty and muddy everywhere during the dry and rainy seasons respectively, and majority of people especially the youths are not productive.

Uganda is populated by dozens of different ethnic groups, the Nilotics occupying the northern, and Bantu, the central and southern region. There are at least 32 languages spoken in Uganda, English and Swahili are official languages and Ganda the local common language. The populace of Uganda is currently estimated to be 44.27 million. Ugandans commemorate their cultural identity and legacy; have strong commitment to their culture and religions. Hospitality is prevailing everywhere, and other cultures and communities are welcomed, for example, refugees from Somalia, South Sudan, and Democratic Republic of Congo are resettled and live freely in Uganda.

The economy of Uganda is basically agricultural which occupies some four-fifths of the working population. Small-scale mixed farming predominates and farmers rely heavily on the hand hoes and associated tools. Crops commonly grown include: plantains, cassava, maize, rice, wheat, pumpkins, millet, sorghum, grains and other cereals. Each household farmer works on an average of less than 3 acres of land. With national policies supporting the modernization of agriculture, the average income of household farmers in Uganda is still low. Fishing holds a great potential, and aquaculture farming is practiced on a small scale.

Kampala, the capital, is the largest city, and others include: Jinja, Mbale, Masaka, Entebbe, and Gulu. Urban centers have grown because of rural-urban movement. Numerous small trading centers have emerged along major routes. Different groups of people make up a diverse social matrix which attract a variety of dishes and flavors like roasted chicken, pork, goats’ meat and fried cooked foods. Intake nutrients are not monitored on regular basis, as a result, malnutrition and noncommunicable diseases are on increase in Uganda’s populace. Traditional foods are now gaining popularity because of their healthy benefits.

Urban areas often contain large numbers of mainly younger people. Since about the mid- 1990s there has been an increase in a number of street children and other impoverished individuals in Kampala and other towns of Uganda. Weekends in Uganda are vigilant with some people going to beaches, and others to churches, an occasion characterized by lovely jewelry, colorful costumes, and alive music. Uganda needs a service and research to restore food and farming systems and the environment to its original state or better in order to keep its pearl.

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

The increasing population growth in a static area! While the population of Uganda is projected to reach 130 million by 2050, an increasingly demand for food is also expected. Although, the potential of Uganda's agriculture is able to satisfy a growing food demand in response to the population increase, it is constrained by several challenges, and these include:

Climate change:  Is a global phenomenon and is affecting agricultural productivity of Uganda by causing variable weather conditions, more intense weather events, drought, floods, altered rainfall patterns, and alterations in diseases and pests, and other adversities. Agricultural innovations such as irrigation require considerable capital investment that  majority of Ugandan household farmers cannot afford due to poverty.

Lack of technology: Farming in Uganda is at subsistence level and farmers have limited resources to invest in improving the production system that includes farming, processing, packaging, storage and marketing technologies. As a result the whole food production system is inadequate to produce competitive products that meet the quality and safety requirements for local and international markets.

Land fragmentation: Uganda is experiencing a decline of farm size mainly due to agricultural population increase, traditional land inheritance customs and to rapid urbanization which stimulates cropland conversion for expansion of urban residency, industry, roads and other infrastructure. This has greatly affected households, unable to expand and move towards a wider and sustainable agri-food systems.

Water scarcity: Water is a critical driver of agricultural production. Agricultural activities such as crop and livestock production, fishing, aquaculture farming and agro-processing are directly influenced by the availability of fresh water. Scarcity of water causes major threats to the smallholder farming. By the year 2050, it is predicted that a large portion of Uganda populace will be vulnerable to water shortages.

Changes to food consumption habits: The dietary transition is occurring in Uganda, which resulted in joint challenges of both under and over nutrition. Income growth and urbanization are major drivers of changes in dietary habits. These dietary transitions are linked to the rise of non-communicable chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes and cancer.

Inadequate pre- and post- harvest management: Post-harvest loss is on increase, sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards are inadequate which constrains household farmers’ food, and income. The food losses also pose environmental concerns by raising the emission of greenhouse gas, and contaminated effluent discharges into water systems.

Decreased varieties of crops and animals: There is an overall decrease in the varieties of crops and livestock produced. In the early years, farmers used to grow a wide variety of crops and raised many different types of livestock. Since the development of commercial agriculture the number of different types of crops and livestock has decreased.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

The Agricultural Mall and Equipment Leasing Service School (AMELSS) will be established in Kampala, and a 5-year strategic plan, renewed every after 5 years up to 2050, to rapidly identify the useful local practices, and introducing new technologies, as a solution to improve food and farming systems while taking care of ecosystems.

The farmers are guided in choosing farm management practices, which fit local ecological and socioeconomic conditions. Seed and livestock breeds, are identified and recommended for use. Household Farmer Groups (HFGs) are leased equipment, produce and process, pack and brand, and market readymade foods, under a brand name, “Pearl of Africa Foods”.

The first 5- year strategic plan, aims to build systems and structures, and to buy 12 precision machines; 3 machines to the AMELSS in Kampala for Central, 3 to Mbarara for Southwestern, 3 to Mbale for Eastern, and 3 to Kigumba for Northwestern Uganda. The selected 4 places will be used as centers for scaling up the program, to traverse the whole country.

This 5- year strategic plan, will be implemented in a series of steps, the Strategic Objectives (SOs). The precision milling machines will be used as an anchor point in the  targeted communities. Lushan Win Tone Engineering Technology Company from China will supply the equipment, and offers technical assistance in agro-food industrial enterprise development.

SO 1: The EMELSS ensure constant supply of seeds, to address the challenge of decreased varieties of crops and animals. It also offers the QA, QC and CQI functions, CO2 technologies, for cold storage and transportation of perishable foods, and dry ice blasting to address the challenge of food waste due to sanitation and phyto-sanitation practices. The AMELSS will be strengthened and equipped, to become a state of the art Regional Center of Excellence (RCE) by 2025.

SO 2: Supply equipment to address the challenge of inadequate pre- and post- harvest management, and food waste, HFGs processing legumes, corn, grain, rice, coffee, and other cereals. Baby nutritional foods to address the challenge of both under and over nutrition, and special foods, high gluten, starch sugar and high fructose syrup to support a growing number of confectioneries in Uganda.  

SO 3: The agro-food enterprise development: HFGs will get machines of lower capacity for the start. Later, a team of Win Tone experts will evaluate their businesses. Businesses eligible for expansion will be upgraded to single line processing machines of medium capacity, which will further be upgraded to very big agro-processing industrial plants.

SO 4: The HFGs will be leased equipment, produce high quality nutritious foods, and provide employment for the youths and women. Climate change, land fragmentation, and poverty, will be addressed. Cultivation of essential oils plants, super bamboo, GM cassava, and sandal wood, building agri-food systems for inclusive economic growth to engage everybody in production by 2050.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

Well developed food systems, that nourish the health of Uganda, and its people, as it was originally were before the 1980s. All these happening because of, rural communities and households repossessing, agro-food processing value functions, taking the control of food value chain, maintaining integrity of food products, and ensuring a constant supply of nutritious food, and making them available to everyone through super markets and restaurants. Villages transformed into village towns with well controlled diet, health, financial and insurance, and food banking schemes. All this happening because of farmers, taking a big share of profits from harvest, allowing them to expand their farming businesses, use good farming practices, and responsively manages natural resources and maintaining ecosystem functions.

The AMELSS in Kampala will be strengthened and equipped to become a state of the art Regional Center of Excellence (RCE) by 2025, ensuring a constant supply of seeds, precision equipment, research, training, and laboratory for the development of new food products. By 2030, more than 1200 farmer groups established, with all efforts directed to zeroing hunger by producing nourishing foods while nurturing the environment. Something new and unique is happening in Uganda. Many partners and collaborators coming in, more especially from UK and American Universities, and research institutions, including Feed the Future.

Food wastes due to poor sanitation, and phyto-sanitation, to be addressed by CO2 technologies and solutions, already a registered member of gasworld- UK, and in contact with ASCO CO2 Technologies- Switzerland, and Cold Jet– Dry Ice Technologies- USA. The CO2 and dry ice has many applications such as cold storage and transportation of perishable foods, and dry ice cleaning/blasting, all to be done by 2040. Over 2000 Household Farmer Groups (HFGs) with more than15000 (SMEs) will be in service,which ensures food future of Uganda, and its people for 2050.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

The vision is to attain sustainable food and farming systems in Uganda, while restoring natural resources, and the environment, making households accountable and taking the lead, and also to play a part in the restoration efforts, guided by relevant farm and food processing management practices, fitting the local ecological and socioeconomic condition, resulting in people becoming more productive, urban areas developing into small cities and villages to village towns, which in turn attract health, social and financial services, health and agricultural insurance schemes, and to be centers of technology in communities.

Through partnership, collaboration and coalitions, comprehensive local food and farming systems formed, people, and households repossessing of agro-food processing value functions, the old and outdated granaries and grindstones which were phased out in early 1980s replaced by modern storage silos and precision milling machines respectively, taking the lead in control of food value chain, maintaining integrity of food products, ensuring a constant supply of nutritious food, making them available to everyone through well equipped supermarkets and restaurants. Household Farmer Groups (HFGs), selling their products directly to local markets, such as schools, colleges, and universities and government institutions, and to regional and international markets.

The AMELSS RCE in Kampala, ensuring constant supply of seeds, the precision equipment, research, training, and laboratory for the development of new food products. By 2030, more than 3000 farmer groups established, with all their efforts directed to zeroing hunger, by producing nourishing foods, while nurturing the environment. Something new and unique happening in Uganda, attracting the government, local stakeholders, many partners and collaborators coming in, more especially from UK and American Universities, and research institutions, including Feed the Future.                                                               

The AMELSS’s Research and Development (R&D) department, playing a critical role in introducing modern practices, aimed at improving food security and developing comprehensive community systems, based on enabling sustainable food production, through the use of modern technologies, which enhances farming practices including local food production, processing, packaging, and marketing under brand name; Pearl of Africa Foods with a crested crane as a symbol representing Uganda. All these becoming possible through collaborative partnerships, diversifying food sources as well as implementing legislation and policies contributing to improving nutrition, while reducing food waste that adds carbon footprint to the environment

A flourishing agriculture sector for Uganda at glance, as we are moving towards 2040, where government and development partners appreciating, more aid coming in and targeting households at grassroot level as beneficiaries, no aid money is wasted, and ensuring the beneficiaries continuous use of application-oriented technologies, coming directly to farmers without passing intermediaries, its success lying in the two-way flow of information between the AMELSS and the farmers. Through a network of extension services, problems in the field are brought directly to the AMELSS for solutions, and scientific hypothesis quickly transmitted to field for trial adaptation and implementation.

The building a Uganda resilient food economy for 2050 that adapt to changes and cope with negative shocks stands on:

Efficient farming systems- For feeding the rapidly growing Uganda’s population, necessitating the need to increase agricultural production, and taking advantages of innovative technologies and practices including food and farm waste management. A foresighted community farming strategy, encouraging the production of crops and livestock and aquaculture, suited to the local environment and needs.

Adoption of new technologies- Which are innovation- driven through research and development (R&D), example, AgTech as applied in the field of farming, placing more emphasis on sustainable and efficient ways of food production, using science- driven multidisciplinary knowledge and innovation processes, with no-discipline-left- behind, helping in monitoring environmental and climate change, and to making areas with ecological and climate threats, food security, yield gaps and lagging economies, become productive. HFGs using controlled-environment farming that uses efficient technologies to manage inputs and maximize outputs.

Example, aquaculture or farming of fish and other marine life in controlled conditions, vertical farming where plants are grown indoor in vertically stacked layers using artificial light, regulated humidity, temperature, and minimal pesticides thus, enabling large-scale production of vegetables in the absence of soil, sunlight, and chemicals. The use of drones to map farming areas and adoption of sensors helping in boosting yields, and exploring various new technologies that can withstand fierce climate, water scarcity, and soil salinity to produce local crops with least amount of water, in an effort to attain food security.

Food Processing, packaging and branding- The HFGs repossessing agro-food processing value functions, growing and processing of farm produce into food, feed and industrial products. The introduction of mobile-processing units, helping in areas lacking adequate storage , requiring crops to be sold immediately, instead of selling them at cheap prices, are processed into products with prolonged shelf life. The solar milling helping in overcoming the challenge of foods in remote areas, where there is no electricity, having the opportunity of moving processing near to the farms, less farm produce is wasted and farmers able to capture more value. The following are some of the possible projects for HFGs:  

Coffee beans cleaning for export, Maize milling project; Corn processing projects; Corn flakes processing; Rice processing; Dried cassava processing, Sorghum processing; Millet processing; Soya bean and sim sim processing; Pumpkin seeds processing; Wheat processing; Edible oil processing; Processing of feed for animal, poultry and piggery home income projects; Industrial products such as spirits to support a growing number of catering, schools, research institutions and universities in Uganda, starch to support textiles and pharmaceutical companies; Starch sugar as concentrates to support the growing number of confectioneries in Uganda and neighboring countries in East- Central African region.

Strategic reserves of food and water- Addressing the challenge of prolonged dry season and unpredictable weather patterns, food shortage and water scarcity, by putting up a backup plan, ensuring constant supply, when primary food production or trade routes are disrupted. All these incentives provided through a combination of public-sector projects, like food banking, strategic grain reserves, and regulation, requirements that food distributors or supermarkets maintain stocks at certain levels, establishing strategic food-reserve systems, to cope with the production, supply and market disruptions, as well as keeping inflation in check, and with a national administration managing reserves of legumes, corn, grain and other cereals.

Food and farm waste management- Using a near holistic approach to resource recovery and reuse, whereby almost all waste types, both degradable (including organic waste and faecal sludge) and non-degradable, are used. Organic and agricultural waste resources produced in urban and rural, used to generate energy and fertilizers, which are used in urban and rural areas respectively.

Sanitation and health practices- The food waste due to poor sanitation, and phyto-sanitation, addressed by CO2 technologies and solutions, already a registered member of gasworld, ASCO CO2 Technologies- Switzerland, and Cold Jet– Dry Ice Technologies- USA. The CO2 and dry ice has many applications such as cold storage and transportation of perishable foods, and dry ice cleaning/blasting, all to be done by 2040. Over 12000 Household Farmer Groups (HFGs) with more than15000 (SMEs) will be in service, owned agro-processing enterprises are vital components, of this visionary regenerative and nourishing food future of Uganda, and its people for 2050.

Well-functioning domestic markets- Efficient domestic markets established, minimizes the route from farm to table, without disruption and spoilage, eliminating bottlenecks leading to losses for producers and shortages. The cooperation of households, HFGs well-functioning and taking the lead in domestic markets, producing dramatic advances. The introduction of new technologies, helping farmers, have safe storage of their produce, such as cassava, dried and processed into cassava flour for food and brewing and making industrial products such as office glue. Also investing in infrastructure, such as modern storage facilities, preservation measures, adopting best food regulations, and focusing on changes in consumer behavior, is very imperative in tackling food waste. 

Tailored trade and investment approaches- A well-planned international trade and investment strategy helping in hedging against volatility and food shortages while spurring economic growth, such as growing and processing of essential oils; Super bamboo for food, building materials and firewood and graphene; GM cassava for food and Tapiaco, and Sandal wood for aromatics. Creating trading and processing hubs to diversify supply, and for mitigating the risk of supply disruptions and strengthen Uganda’s food economy. Uganda, providing HFGs with incentives, and explore new technologies to increase the production of food, feed and industrial products.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

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Join the conversation:

Photo of Kehinde Fashua

Hi Dickson Kikyonkyo welcome to the Food System Vision Prize Community!
Great to see your vision around solving challenges to sustainable food and farming systems in Kampala, Uganda.

What would life in Kampala, Uganda look like in 2050?

Since your Vision will be designed specifically for the Place and People you’ve selected, it will be very valuable to understand the needs, aspirations, motivations, and challenges of your Place and its People. You can find some inspiration and tools to help you with your research in the Vision Prize Toolkit in Chapter 3 under Tools of Transformation.

We've built a very comprehensive Food Vision Prize Toolkit with a lot of information, activities, and guidelines. The Toolkit will help you refine your Vision and make it systemic, human-centred and well informed for the future. You can also update your Vision at any time before 31 January 2020 by clicking on the "Edit Contribution" on top. If you need inspiration or guidance, take a look at the Food Vision Prize Toolkit.
Here is the link to the Prize Toolkit:
Look forward to seeing your Vision evolve through the coming weeks

Photo of Dickson Kikyonkyo

Hi Kehinde,
Thank you for the update and guidance.
Uganda is my chosen project place with an area of 241,038 square kilometers. Because of its location in East-Central Africa I have chosen it to act as a model country. Advise me as its total area of 241,038 km^2 is large than the recommended area.

Photo of Kehinde Fashua

Hi Dickson Kikyonkyo 
If your chosen area is larger than 100000 square kilometre, then you may need to provide a compelling reason as to why they've chosen this size in the “Your Selected Place” question. Note that the more the area expands beyond the limit, the more compelling the reason(s) should be