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Market Systems Development for Refugees and Host Livelihoods in Arua and Yumbe Districts, Uganda

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The present report on Market Systems Development (MSD) for refugee and host livelihoods in Arua and Yumbe districts in Uganda was commissioned by the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The aim of the assignment is to identify value chains with potential to provide employment for refugees and hosts, analyse these chains in the context of Rhino and Bidibidi settlements, and their wider Arua and Yumbe district contexts, and formulate recommendations to upgrade the value chains to promote employment and business opportunities for refugees and hosts.

The approach used was to work with teams in the districts made up of local experts from the UNHCR, implementing partners (IPs), operating partners (OPs), local government, service providers and business actors to select value chains with high growth and employment potential, analyse the strengths and weaknesses of these value chains within their wider governance, regulatory, service provision, infrastructure and bio-geographic environments and make recommendations to upgrade the value chains and their environments.

The teams found that the crops with the highest current growth potential were cassava in both settlements, simsim (sesame) in Rhino and groundnuts in Bidibidi. The main obstacles to exploiting their potential are access to cultivable land in the settlements and, for those who do have access to land, the use of saved seed with low germination power, traditional cultivation methods, poor harvesting, post-harvesting and assembly methods and weak negotiating power with buyers.

The recommendations focus on re-orienting livelihoods programming towards achieving the goals of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) and the Phase 1, 2017-2020, objectives of the Refugee and Host Population Empowerment (ReHoPE) Strategy, namely to prepare joint programmes and action plans with the districts, begin implementation and draw lessons in preparation for Phase II, 2021-25, which will focus on district planning and implementation.

On governance, the report recommends that livelihoods proposals submitted by the IPs and OPs are assessed by joint meetings of the UNHCR and Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) against revised Standing Operational Procedures (SOPs) for livelihoods programming oriented to meeting the ReHoPE goals. It recommends that the UNHCR encourages its IPs and OPs to engage with and increasing work through the district Production and Marketing Departments (DPMs) to provide agricultural extension support to refugee and mixed farmer groups in the settlements, thereby strengthening the capacity of the districts to progressively take over these functions.

The recommendations for value chain upgrade focus on establishment of cassava, simsim and groundnut multi-stakeholders platforms to bring together the actors in these chains to promote the use of improved technologies and agronomic practices and strengthen post-harvest assembly, handling, packaging and marketing. Within the value chains it is recommended that demonstration plots and grain assembly centres are set up to demonstrate and popularise the benefits of improved farming methods and technologies and improved post-harvest handing, with the aim of stimulating crowding in within these input and output markets to create tipping points in behaviour leading to self-sustaining, market-driven development.

The report ends with an intervention framework and action plan. The action plan distinguishes immediate actions prior to the first rainy season in March 2018, and actions to lay the foundation for fuller implementation and testing of the different dimensions of the MSD approach during 2018 to 2020.