Programme profile

Ag Inputs: Agricultural Inputs Activity

Programme Index Listing

Main implementer
TetraTech ARD
Other implementers
Adam Smith International / J.E. Austin Associates, Inc./ Engineers without Borders
USAID Feed the Future
2012 - 2017
Total budget
US $ 10 million
Annual budget
US $ 2 million

Project description / objective

  1. Increase the availability and responsible use of high-quality agricultural inputs by improving private sector supply chain management.
  2. Decrease the prevalence of counterfeit agricultural inputs in the Ugandan market.

Ag Inputs used a market systems approach, working through local networks and businesses to overcome barriers to buying and selling agricultural inputs.

The project took place in 25 Feed the Future target districts and 10 adjacent market hubs covering 32 per cent of all districts in Uganda. 

Market systems focus


The overall goal of the anti-counterfeit market system interventions was to create increased trust in the agricultural inputs supply chain by promoting:

  • the use of a scratch off e-verification system (Kakasa)
  • an increase in demand for quality inputs through national apex organisations and their members


E-verification activities aimed to provide consumers with an easy-to-use tool to ensure they were purchasing genuine products from local agro-input dealers.

Seed quality

To ensure the availability of high-quality seed in the local market by joining forces with a consortium of Ugandan seed companies that agreed to use internationally accredited seed certification standards as part of a public private partnership (AgVerify).

Professionalisation of agro-chemical supply and spray service provision

Engaging actors to continuously improve the supply of, and demand for, safe and environmentally responsible spray services, ensuring judicious and effective use of agrochemicals.

Regulatory compliance

To protect consumers and legitimate businesses from fraud and unethical behaviour, ensuring that value chain actors deliver products and services without compromising the safety of actors along the supply chain and within the farming ecosystem.

Access to finance

Working with market actors to ensure the availability of different sizes and types of financing for agricultural inputs.


Focused on pilot testing and promoting efficient and effective distribution channels that are more equitable, thrive on traceability and backed by consumer confidence.

Climate change

Dissemination of climate change information. Identifying and building the capacity of 'climate change champions' and the development of Climate Action Networks (CANs) in collaboration with other Feed the Future programs and private sector actors.

Programme interventions


Worked in close collaboration with the Uganda National Farmer’s Federation (UNFFE) and district farmer associations to roll out a farmer education campaign.

Facilitated an anti-counterfeit coalition in collaboration with the district local governments and other key stakeholders. Helped districts pass local ordinances and by-laws to prosecute counterfeits in their jurisdiction.


Supported brand protection for quality conscious suppliers. The service was offered by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), working in a public private partnership collaboration with mPedigree, a private service provider.

Supported a national education campaign to increase farmer understanding of the service, and to demand e-verified products.

Seed quality

Collaborated with private entities, including Chemiphar, a testing lab; UGOCERT, a certification entity; and Heartland Global, an agribusiness advisory firm.

Led local seed companies to develop a voluntary, private sector seed certification service called AgVerify. The AgVerify quality mark was combined with e-verification to provide farmers with the assurance of high-quality, genuine seeds.

Lobbied for the Ministry of Agriculture to recognise the greater role the private sector could play in seed certification.

Professionalisation of agro-chemical supply and spray service provision

Worked in close collaboration with CropLife Uganda and district local government to train and certify Spray Service providers (SSPs) and agro-dealers in safe and responsible service delivery.

Facilitated the revision of the training curriculum and the guidelines for agro-dealer licensing to sell chemicals. The pilot was rolled out in 10 districts.


Worked closely with the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), local governments and the Ministry of Agriculture to facilitate a coordinated effort to get all agro-dealers in Uganda legally registered and licensed.

Access to finance

Collaborated with various financial service providers to encourage them to tailor product offerings to sector needs.

Piloted a mobile money wallet product to facilitate easier loan management and recovery.

Carried out financial management simulation training for agro-dealers to improve their record keeping and make their businesses more bankable.


Collaborated with the design of e-voucher systems for government distribution programmes to make them more private-sector-friendly. With support from Common Ground Consulting, the Activity carried out an in-depth analysis of distribution models employed by seven agrochemical, seed and equipment suppliers to make appropriate recommendations.

Climate change

The Ag Inputs Activity identified 80 ‘climate change champions’ and trained them on how to access and disseminate climate change information, climate smart practices and technologies.

The Activity facilitated the development of CANs in 14 districts, consisting of public and private actors, to disseminate information about climate change and climate-smart agricultural practices, technology and seed varieties.

Supported 193 climate-smart technology demonstrations with Solar Now, Davis and Shirtliff, and Balton Uganda.

Notable results (systemic change, poverty impact)


  • Uganda National Farmers Federation (UNFFE) trained 834 local stakeholders on the repercussions of counterfeit agro-inputs, who then sensitised more than 15,166 farmers in 28 districts
  • An anti-counterfeit public education campaign was launched. It reached five million farmers
  • Fifteen districts drafted or developed anti-counterfeit by-laws
  • According to focus group discussions held in 2017, agro-input dealers and farmers were more aware of the scope and scale of counterfeit inputs in 2017 than they were during the baseline survey in 2013. They felt better able to identify quality inputs and agro-dealers.


The e-verification system is implemented by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards in collaboration with mPedigree.

  • 11 private sector companies participated in the e-verification initiative.
  • Over 2.9 million e-verification labels were applied to 27 products by 2017.
  • The system registered nearly 150,000 verification messages from January through September 2017.
  • 855 agro-dealers were trained by UNADA and UNBS, and 14 KAKASA competitions were organised.
  • 27,410 radio messages were aired on local radio stations. As a result, more farmers and agro-input dealers were able to verify genuine inputs.

Seed quality

AgVerify, a new private seed verification initiative, was launched with a public education campaign.

AgVerify offered inspections and lab testing services to five seed companies for two seasons. Nine seed companies signed up for the 2017 Season B season.

These inspection and lab services were offered on a fee-for-service basis to companies that registered for the voluntary quality mark. AgVerify applied for Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries (MAAIF) accreditation. Unfortunately that was not forthcoming, resulting in the failure of this initiative. However, 16 seed companies participated in training of inspectors through a Certificate-Level Intensive and Interactive Course (CLIIC®), completed in 2017. Nine seed companies were trained in financial management, and 19 local radio stations ran 24-episode radio dramas to promote quality verified seed.

Professionalisation of agro-chemical supply and spray service provision

  • CropLife trained 149 Spray Service Providers (SSPs); 108 remained active three years after training.
  • 409 existing agro-dealers attended ‘safe use’ refresher training and 406 new agro-dealers attended ‘safe use’ certificate courses.


  • 15 districts were trained in local ordinance development, and 1,436 companies attended compliance clinics. Of these, 916 companies were registered by URSB, including 629 agro-dealers.
  • An Agro-Input Compliance Handbook was launched in 24 districts, making it easier for new agro-input dealers to comply with various rules governing their behaviour.
  • 85 per cent of agro-dealers now have trading licenses, and 74 per cent have safe use certificate. 63 per cent are URSB registered, and 9 per cent registered with MAAIF.

Access to Finance

  • 666 agro-dealers received product knowledge and inventory management training
  • 316 agro-dealers were trained in financial management. The training resulted in agro-input actors leveraging $1.79 million in local private sector investment.


  • 3,280 firms participated in training and events related to improved distribution. During training firms were encouraged to adapt customer service business strategies and marketing to target women customers and to promote women’s participation in all activities.
  • Ag Inputs stakeholders and partners reached 17,999 women, which represented 38 per cent of all stakeholders reached over the life of the Activity. 34 per cent of agro-dealers in Uganda were women, and women represented half of agro-inputs business employees.

Climate change:

  • By 2017, 6,229 beneficiaries attended 193 climate-smart production demos and events held by 435 agro-dealers who sold drought-tolerant varieties and irrigation technology.
  • By 2017, 87 per cent of surveyed agro-dealers were selling new drought-resistant seed varieties. Of these, more than 80 per cent reported that the sale of climate-smart varieties resulted in an increase in customer retention, sales and profits.
  • Sales of climate-smart technologies - particularly solar-powered irrigation systems, water harvesting options and greenhouse systems - increased rapidly. In 2017, stakeholders reported more than US$1.15 million in solar pump sales.

[updated May 2020]