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Rural transport and livelihoods in Uganda

Published by:
Publication date
Type of Publication:
Articles & Journals
Focus Region:
Sub-Saharan Africa
Focus Topic:
Agricultural Value Chains / Agri-Businesses
Type of Risk:
Logistical & infrastructural
Kleih, U.; Kaira, C.; Iga, H.; Kwamusi, P.

In 2002, as part of the three-year action-research project “Improved Food Crop Marketing through Appropriate Transport for poor Farmers in Uganda”, a baseline study using both Participatory Rural Appraisals (PRA) and a questionnaire survey was carried out in nine sub-counties of Iganga, Kasese, and Katakwi districts. The baseline study assessed household livelihoods, focusing on ownership of means of transportation and other issues related to livelihood assets, vulnerability context, and livelihood strategies. A detailed analysis of cropping and marketing patterns was undertaken in view of the project context. The analysis of the rural transport system included human porterage, intermediate means of transportation (IMTs), motorized transport, road infrastructure, as well as institutions and support services. The baseline study highlighted the shortage of transportation means in rural communities. Bicycles are the main form of IMTs and one of the principal physical assets owned by farmers, particularly in districts with flat terrain. The lack of donkeys, donkey-carts, tractors and trailers, cars, and pick-up trucks was evident among the households surveyed, while the ownership of bicycle-trailers and wheelbarrows is very limited. The use of oxen and ox-carts was mainly encountered in Katakwi. In most cases men own the household physical assets. Ownership by women only appears to become relatively more prevalent if there is a higher number of female-headed households, suggesting that only household heads own assets. Human porterage was found to be the most common mode of transport at the community level in all three districts, and, unsurprisingly, farmers expressed a need for better availability of means of transportation. Although motorized forms of transport are used, farmers primarily use them for travel rather than transport purposes. In view of this, oxen, ox-carts, donkeys, and donkey-carts, are being introduced and tested in rural communities in the three districts. Partnership arrangements between local organizations and farmer groups, as well as participatory monitoring by the latter, play an integral role in the project.