Farmers, government and private sector working together! Learning Route on Inclusive Business Models

By Vivienne Likhanga

– Organised By PROCASUR, IFAD, TSLI-ESA - GLTN In Uganda (4-10 December 2015):

It is the morning of the 4 of December 2015 and we are excited to welcome the participants to the Learning Route! Finally we meet them after communicating with them for so long in readiness for the trip. Everything is ready now: Let’s start the journey!

First step is the presentation of the main topics by our technical coordinator, Ken Otieno, and an introductive panel discussion with Rebecca Apio, Uganda Land Association (ULA), Peter Kisambira, Uganda National Farmers Federation (UNFF) and John Mwebe, a Land Issues-expert lawyer.

Then we jump on the bus and go. Destination: Kalangala islands, on Lake Victoria!

Here we meet our first hosts: the Vegetable Oil Development Project, in its second phase (VODP-II). On this enchanting island, so remote and isolated thus still wild, the project has established a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) for the production of palm oil. The Learning Route participants gather with the main actors of the project at all levels (project directors and officers, the private company, the farmers and their association), receiving insights and sharing ideas, comments and points of view.Our hosts were proud to welcome our “Ruteros” and willing to exchange knowledge, answer questions and actively participating at the discussion.
 After two whole days on the island, our journey has to continue, bringing us to different shores.

A long bus drive brings us uphill, on the slopes of Mount Elgon: we reach Kapchorwa profoundly amazed by the landscape: mountains roads, green meadows, waterfalls and the Rift Valley below us! Here, we meet Kawacom Limited, the second Case Study of this Learning Route. Again, a full and intense visit takes us to the offices, the production site and smallholders’ farms, opening our eyes on how Inclusive Business Models can serve as tools for land security– in this case, through the production of organic coffee.

After each visit, our Ruteros are called for the Case Analysis Workshop. The first day, in fact, the practitioners have appointed themselves as “secretaries” of one of the two cases: they have therefore presented a critical analysis of the Lessons Learnt, Challenges and Recommendations for the way forward.

This activity is part of the PROCASUR methodology: the Learning Route is an active learning wherein practitioners receive inputs, giving also back suggestions and different points of view, in a dynamic atmosphere of knowledge exchange.

Day after day, our Ruteros are getting closer, having intense sessions and discussions – the two cases have given us so much food for thought! –but we have had so much fun and laughter as well.

Learning is a journey, this is our philosophy: on the way, we discover new places and habits, acquire knowledge, have new experiences and meet new people. PROCASUR mission is to make sure we don’t waste any opportunity the road offers to enrich ourselves!
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