Most of Uganda’s rice is produced by smallholder farmers with the purpose of marketing for family income. However, poorly developed market system is a major problem to rice producers. Based in Namutumba district (Eastern Uganda), the study involved both structured interviews with several stakeholders and focus group discussions with three farmers groups and three rice miller groups, each comprising of ten people. Using value chain approach, the study analyzes constraints and upgrading opportunities along the marketing channels. Low rice quality attributed to poor postharvest practices where foreign matter mixes with paddy during drying is a major challenge. High energy cost amounting to 69% of electricity operated and 89% of diesel operated machines during milling lowers farmers’ income. Small volumes of rice supplied by individual farmers to the market also weaken their bargaining power. In addition, there is mistrust between farmers and millers since the latter can only recover up to 70% of financial credit advanced to the former. The above challenges are compounded by limited market support activities by the development partners. Strengthening group cohesion through horizontal coordination, improving relationships between chain actors at different chain nodes through vertical coordination and rural electrification are some of the possible considerations.
Key words: Uganda, rice market, upgrading, value chain, farmers, rice millers.
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