Action - Feed the Future: The U.S. Government’s Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative - Crop selection strategies - All population groups

Programme: Feed the Future: The U.S. Government’s Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative

Programme description

Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative, is a $3.5 billion commitment to support country-driven approaches to address the root causes of poverty, hunger and undernutrition. A whole-of-government initiative led by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Feed the Future leverages the strengths of multilateral institutions, civil society and the private sector. Globally we aim to assist 18 million vulnerable women, hildren, and family members – mostly smallholder farmers – escape hunger and poverty. Together, we will increase agricultural productivity, decrease poverty, drive economic growth, and reduce undernutrition to improve millions of lives.

Over the next five years in Uganda, Feed the Future aims to help an estimated 709,000 vulnerable Ugandan women, children and family members—mostly mallholder farmers—escape hunger and poverty. More than 450,000 children will be reached with services to improve their nutrition and prevent stunting and child mortality. Significant numbers of additional rural populations will achieve improved income and nutritional status from strategic policy engagement and institutional investments.

To meet its objectives, Feed the Future Uganda is making core investments in three key areas:

1. Nutrition

  • Essential nutrition actions at health facility and community level
  • Management  of severe acute malnutrition at health facility level
  • Productionof ready-to-use therapeutic foods and complimentary foods
  • Social  Marketing of Complementary Foods
  • Behavior  Change Communication for Improved Nutrition
  • Micronutrient  interventions including food fortification
  • Capacity  building, policy, advocacy and research

2. Agriculture. The maize, coffee and bean belt are in Southwest and Central Uganda. The choice to focus on these value chains represents considerations regarding Ugandan government priorities, division of donor labor, and the highest impact interventions for the expected scale of Feed the Future resources.

  • Maize for Regional Food Security
  • Coffee  for Growth
  • Beans  for Nutrition
  • Value  Chain Investments
  • Agro  Input Supplies

3. Connecting Nutrition to Agriculture

  • Agriculture Research
  • Supporting  Policy & Enabling Environment
  • Partnership  Investment
  • Capacity  Building
  • Community  Connector

Programme type



$47.5 million



Start date:


End date:

Southwest and Central Uganda
Target group: 
All population groups
Implementation details : 

Priority Value Chains

Our investments will focus on value chains with the greatest market potential, the highest number of farmers, and the greatest income potential for farmers. Impact on nutrition and role of gender were also critical considerations in our value chain focus, as was the potential for sector-wide impact and maximum return on investment. Many of the value chain components have integrated nutrition and agriculture dimensions. The starting point for this strategy is the Government of Uganda’s Agriculture Sector Development Strategy and Investment Plan (DSIP) where ten priority value chains were selected. In looking at each commodity, maize and coffee stood out as key drivers for conomic growth in terms of number of farmers, market demand, and income potential. Most of the Ugandan staple diet is built around other staples like beans, cassava, and banana – leaving maize to function more as a cash crop that responds to regional food security and trade demands, rather than as a household staple. Fish, dairy and livestock were also considered. However all three present a number of challenges that would require substantially higher levels of investment to address and would deliver a much lower rate of return for dollar invested. 

Value-chain Investments

Policy - The USG FTF strategy will support a five-year policy reform initiative in agriculture, trade, health and gender equity. Some examples of policy priorities include the passage of Uganda’s Biotechnology and Bio-safely bill, effective implementation of the Agricultural Chemicals Control Act (1989, amended in 2006) which establishes a licensing regime for insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers, and controls and regulates the manufacture, storage, distribution, trade, import, and export of agricultural chemicals, effective implementation of the Agriculture Seeds and Plant Act (1994) which regulates seed companies operating or importing plant material into Uganda, and passage of the Food and Nutrition Bill and related Health, Nutrition and Sanitation policies for a proposed National Food and Drug Authority. Review of Uganda’s marriage and family act lays out the ownership and control of assets for women. It is critical to address key gender components of legislation.

Capacity Building - Support to strengthen key public and private sector institutions at the national and district levels is essential to the overall success of our Feed the Future activities. This five-year set of activities will focus on building capacity within the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, and Ministries of Health and Agriculture to collect and analyze data, and to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of their programs. There will also be a short, medium, and long-term training and education component to develop the next generation of Uganda decision makers.

Agriculture Research – Feed the Future will support continued research in three areas:Biotechnology to protect food security crops from serious disease threat – specifically cassava (Cassava MOSAIC) and banana (Banana Wilt (BXW) and Black Sigatoka Disease); breeding to increase stress tolerance and disease resistance for Feed the Future focus crops (maize, coffee and beans); and partnership with Harvest Plus to scale-up the production and mainstream marketing of bio-fortified/nutritionally enhanced crop varieties - specifically Orange-fleshed Sweet Potato and high zinc/iron beans. 

Increased Quality and Production – USG will contribute to a $50 million partnership with DANIDA, the EU, Belgium, and Sweden to address farm-level constraints to quality and production in maize, beans and coffee. The program will also focus on increasing farmer access to financial services and supporting trade-related sanitary and phytosanitary standards and quality management systems. Agro-Input Supply - A five-year program to increase the quality, availability, and use of inputs. This program will build the capacity of the Uganda National Agriculture Input Dealers Association (UNADA) and private sector retailers.

Farm-level Aggregation and Market Linkages - This program will work to build the capacity of farmer organizations to enter into agreements with major buyers, access finance, purchase inputs, bulk, clean, and process their commodities. The program will work in conjunction with the Abi-Trust Partnership (DANIDA) and emphasize linkages to the WFP's Purchase for Progress efforts and the Uganda Commodity Exchange.

Market-Information System - This program will work with local partners to utilize the latest in information and communications technology to address market information gaps for smallholder farmers.

Target population size : 
estimated 709,000 vulnerable Ugandan women, children and family members—mostly smallholder farmers—escape hunger and poverty.
Coverage level (%): 
This component will reach farmers in 62 districts in the maize, coffee, and beans belt in Southwest and Central Uganda.
Outcome indicator(s): 

Some key outputs include:

  • Enabling Environment: improved statistics, data and M&E capacity; robust planning division at Ministry of Agriculture; harmonized policies, uniform enforcement of standards; and increased trade efficiency.
  • Research:Overcome disease and pest threats; large-scale adoption of high nutritionally enhanced staples; and improved soil and water management.
  • Production: Greater access to quality inputs; increased women’s control of productive assets; and reduced farmer vulnerability to environmental shocks.
  • Market Linkages: Improved market infrastructure, and post-harvest handling; effective farmer organizations leverage finance, broker trade deals and bulk and purchase inputs and equipment;functioning warehouse receipts system; accessible market information system; ability to trade via ICT; robust commodity exchange with a commodity trading floor.
M&E system: 


Through an interactive approach across Mission teams and in collaboration with other donors and the GOU, the USG FTF effort will go beyond the status quo of performance monitoring. At the basic level, data will be collected by implementing partners and reported to USAID/Uganda through quarterly reports while quality will be assessed via Data Quality Assessment visits to the field.


To build an evidence base to adjust ongoing projects and inform future programs, we will design rigorous impact evaluations for select FTF programs. We have already identified such an opportunity with our Community Connector program, which fully integrates agriculture and nutrition activities at the household level. Discussions have been held with partners within the MIT Poverty Action Lab consortium on the use of Randomized Control Trial (RCT) experiments. We will use the results of these impact evaluations to test the hypotheses of our FTF strategy and make mid-stream adjustments to programs if necessary, or scale up programs that are working well. Using the earning component of FTF programs like Community Connector is in line with the Mission’s continuing CLA component. We will also partner with other donors to disseminate and promote lessons learned. USAID/Uganda, through unbiased and independent impact evaluations, will identify interventions that work; we will be an active contributor to the greater discourse in testable development hypotheses and our programs will benefit from our increased understanding


A key component of our Feed the Future program will be capacity building of the Government of Uganda in the collection, analysis, and use of agriculture and nutrition data for planning, monitoring, and evaluation. We will work with all relevant government agencies and ministries including the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, and the Ministry of Health. We will work in partnership with the National Planning authority as they attempt to convene the multisectoral Food and Nutrition Council as a cohesive and functional unit. We will seek to build local academic institutions’ capacity in nutrition through improved pre-service and in-service training, and enhanced research capacity. In addition to training in data collection and assistance in improving data systems, we will build analytical capacity in the Ministry of Agriculture by establishing a Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (SAKSS) node.


We will use the Nutrition CRSP to assist us with specific research questions that tell us about the impact of our nutrition-related FTF programs. We have already had preliminary discussions with a Nutrition CRSP team. The Nutrition CRSP is intended to investigate effective ways of translating research results into widespread development practice. The CRSP anticipates the development of a well-balanced research strategy that is both innovative and problem solving, responds to the food and nutrition scientific needs, and to the capacity development requirements of Uganda. USAID/Uganda, through the CRSP, will be better positioned to build more effective strategies and programs, while establishing a research capacity within the Mission and the country as a whole. As programs continue to be developed and procured in the coming months, the CRSP will assist in collecting the relevant local and international knowledge base needed to better implement, evaluate, and learn from our programs. Within individual programs, the CRSP will be an active participant in identifying and rigorously measure testable hypotheses related to food security.

Uganda National Household Survey, 2009/2010; Demographic Health Survey, 2006; The 2008 Uganda Food Consumption Survey; 2007 Uganda Service Provision Survey; The Uganda National Household Survey 2008/2009

Percent growth in agricultural GDP of maize and coffee; Percent change in value of intra-regional exports of targeted agricultural commodities as a result of USG assistance; Post-harvest losses as a percentage of overall harvest, for selected commodities; Value of new private sector investment in the agriculture sector or food chain leveraged by FTF.implementationCapacity of relevant national statistical office to collect high-quality agricultural data

Outcome reported by social determinants: 
Socio-economic status

Revision log

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