The 2019 Market Systems Seminar: Paving the Way for Sustainable Agribusiness in Uganda

On October 15-16, 2019, the International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC), in partnership with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Uganda, organized a two-day Market Systems Seminar at Protea Hotel, Kampala, with the objective of bringing together Agribusiness and Market Systems Experts to discuss the Measurement of the Market Systems Development Approach’s Impact on Food Security.  

Attendees had the opportunity to share practical experiences in Market Systems Development (MSD) and discuss the results in relation to food and nutrition security in Uganda. Speakers, including Alexander Fernando and David Slane from IFDC, Carol Asiimwe from Swisscontact, Jackline Kitongo Lesley, Market Manager, Palladium Group, and Iveta Ouvry from Mercy Corps, emphasized the importance of developing agricultural market systems to ensure food security and gave practical examples from their work. 

“Production and productivity through the intensification of agriculture increases household security, incomes, and tradeable surpluses, which in turn increase food security,” Alexander Fernando, IFDC regional director of East and Southern Africa, said. 

“Reinforcing market participation is very key to enhancing food security so that producers are able to provide a reliable supply to consumers,” Jackline Kitongo of Palladium said. 

On the first day, facilitated by Mike Albu of BEAM Exchange, participants engaged in group discussions and interacted with panels of both MSD experts and private sector players to share ways food security, agriculture, and private sector investment are all connected under MSD approaches. Everyone had opportunities to share experiences and results using the MSD approaches and provide recommendations for success. 

The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands was represented by His Excellency Henk Jan Bakker, the Ambassador to Uganda, and Anno Galema, First Secretary Food Security and Private Sector Development 

“Donors like us are not here for shortterm results, but for longterm transitions in your economies to establish food security,” Galema said in his opening remarks. He also urged attendees and other actors across Uganda to work together to develop sustainable market systems. 

Harald Bekkers presents on measuring results using Market Systems Development methodologies.

During the second day, facilitated by Dr. Harald Bekkers, a consultant with Cardno Emerging Markets, participants gained a better understanding of the Donor Committee for Enterprise Development (DCED)’s Standard for Results Measurement to ensure efficient and productive market systems. The DCED Standard was developed in close collaboration with practitioners to create a tool that would help them manage complex programs in dynamic market environments while generating credible data on progress and results for donors and other stakeholders.  

As such, this tool is essential in enabling developers to determine the best ways to set up market systems. Attendees engaged in group discussions and Q&A sessions geared toward MSD and Results Chains, choosing indicators, measurement, and using results for adaptive management.

The overall consensus among the participants and panelists was that the impact of the MSD approach on food security, while present, should be boosted by bolstering agricultural market systems.  

“We have to accept the notion that solutions that will help farmers and boost both food and income security are very systemic solutions,” Bekkers said. We have to find them in the wider system, not just at the farm level, and this requires a change in how we think about development.” 

The seminar was the first of many steps to bring key sector players and experts together to share ideas and strategies for Market Systems Development for the overall goal of increasing food security in households across Uganda. 

Anno Galema, First Secretary Food Security and Private Sector Development, delivers opening remarks to the Market Systems Seminar.


The following presentations were given at the REACH Market Systems Symposium, held October 15-16, 2019, at the Protea Hotel in Kampala, Uganda. The presentations can be downloaded individually below or in one file here.

Day One

Day Two

Photo Gallery

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