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AgriFoSe2030 Change Stories

AgriFoSe2030 inspires women’s group in Kinoni Sub-County, Uganda to build a milk processing facility

Women participants undergoing training in Kampala, Photo Credit: James Tembo

Due to the poverty and food insecurity challenges among women in Western Uganda, the AgriFose2030 programme initiated a project led by Dr. Judith Nagasha from Kyambogo university to train women on value addition and marketing of milk products. The project team selected three representatives each from eight women farmer groups who were tasked with the responsibility of training fellow female farmers on their newly acquired skills. The Trainer of Trainees (TOTs) methodology is vital for spreading knowledge and retaining the benefits of the project in the community. A total of 24 selected women were trained in Kampala, with the consent of their husbands, on milk production safety and small-scale value addition in accordance with required global standards.

The project team collaborated with the Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI), which supports small-scale industrial growth in Uganda. The one-week workshop focused on training women to take advantage of the gaps in Uganda’s milk value chain. This included equipping them with advanced knowledge and skills on how to improve milk production, maintain the supply of high-quality milk, reduce waste, add value, and produce milk products that have long shelf life and are safe for human consumption. Women were trained in yogurt, butter, ghee, cheese and ice-cream production. While recognising the need for income diversification and reducing the risk of overreliance on milk products, the project also trained women on the production of cosmetics (including vaseline, lotion and lip balm) using locally sourced materials. 

Women participants after a day’s training at the Uganda Industrial Research Institute, Kampala, Uganda. Photo Credit: James Tembo

Follow-up assessments after the week-long training revealed that many women resolved to demonstrate their creativity in producing marketable products and showcase the relevance of the training at UIRI to their spouses. Many men also value the new skill that their wives have gained and how it has improved the production and sale of safe milk products. This shift in mindset and increase in trust and women’s capacity to contribute to the household is contrary to the attitude and norms in Western Uganda around women’s subsidiary roles which prevents them from taking initiative.

Five months after the training, when the project team visited the beneficiary communities, one group in Kinoni Sub-County had established a production facility with the support of their male counterparts. Male counterparts facilitated their wives’ acquisition of a business loan that enabled the women to build a mini-factory for safe handling, processing and packaging of their products. With increased male support, the societal taboo against women working outside the home was broken. One of the male counterparts in Kinoni Sub-County reported that “I had also planned to have the factory built, but ever since my wife returned from the UIRI training in Kamapla, I have seen her enthusiasm and the knowledge she has gained from the training, so I thought it would be advantageous to help her acquire a loan to aid in the business' development”.

A photo of the mini- factory constructed by women farmers in kinoni Sub-County as a result of the AgriFose2030 training and support of their husbands. Photo Credit: James Tembo

New developments and way forward

Realising the relevance of the training received by women, there is growing interest by men to join women’s groups and support the production and sale of milk products. About four men have so far joined the Kinoni women’s group, and they assist in opening avenues for financing and challenging patriarchal values that reduce women’s economic capabilities and contributions. With this, many men have developed an interest in value addition and produce marketing, which was mostly seen as a woman's duty in the local community. Another male counterpart asserted that" this project has given me development ideas and opportunities that I had never thought about; it's better I participate so that I can improve the welfare of my family and the community at large."

The number of women interested in learning more about value addition have increased with many women reaching out to the AgriFoSe2030 project team on a regular basis to provide them more advice on how to make their products better. Additionally, local politicians have noticed the project’s positive impact in the community, and they have reached out to the project team to expand the training to other local communities. The changes in attitude, leading to increased male and female interest in milk value addition provides a viable pathway for increasing incomes and reducing food insecurity in Western Uganda. The ability of women to organise to build a local milk processing facility is indicative of how capacity building for women can lead to multiple ripple effects. Such capacity building that can catalyse multiple positive results need to be given adequate consideration in the efforts to reduce hunger and malnutrition (SDG 2) provide decent work (SDG 8) and empower women (SDG 5).

A photo of the mini- factory constructed by women farmers in kinoni Sub-County as a result of the AgriFose2030 training and support of their husbands. Photo Credit: James Tembo

Elisabeth RajalaElisabeth Rajala, DVM, PhD

Challenge leader of Challenge 1
Department of Biomedical Sciences and Veterinary Public Health, SLU
Telephone: +46 18-67 20 36, +46 73-801 33 56
E-mail: Elisabeth.Rajala@slu.se








  Fredrik Fernqvist, Senior Lecturer 

 Assistant Challenge leader for Challenge 1, AgriFoSe2030
 Department of People and Society, SLU
 Telephone: +46 (0)404-153 88
 E-mail: fredrik.fernqvist@slu.se

 Selorm Kobla Kugbega, Dr

 Communications officer AgriFoSe2030
 SEI, Stockholm Environment Institue
 Phone: +46 (0)73- 27 04 306
 E-mail: selorm.kugbega@sei.org

Published: 19 June 2023 - Page editor: agrifose@slu.se