Lamwo Barley Farmers Groan Under Transport Costs but Buyer is Unmoved

Dactus Ogiki, the Lamwo District Commercial Officer, who climbed Agoro hills to see the farms, said the price per kilogram is unfair, given the hardship they endure to transport the produce.
23 Jan 2023 17:33
A barley farmer transporting his produce from Agoro hills

Audio 8

Barley farmers in Agoro Sub-County in Lamwo district are complaining bitterly over the low price offered to them by buyers. 


Barley growing was introduced in Agoro in 2008 by Engineer Hilary Onek, who was by then the Minister of Agriculture. 

Since then, more than 2,000 farmers have embraced the crop a kilogram of which goes for 1,550 shillings.


However, farmers say the price they are offered per kilogram of barley is too little to uplift their standard of living in addition to the troubles endured when traveling up and down the hills.  

David Okot, said he has been growing barley for the last 10 years.  

Initially, a kilogram of barley was 700 shillings and it was increased to 1,500, but when farmers complained the price was increased by 50 shillings in 2020.

//Cue in: “Wele en ogik…//

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This season, Okot planted 10 acres of barley and expects to get between 25 to30 bags. However, he says the transportation cost involved cuts all his profits. 

According to Okot, it takes three people to transport a sack of barley of about 60 kilograms from the top of the hill down, at 20,000 shillings. Besides, paying each carrier, the farmer has to cook for them as well. 


The barley farms are located at an estimated 15 kilometers distance atop Agoro hills.

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The main local buyers of the barley are; Blue Cup Company Limited and Totco Uganda Limited.


Alfred Apiya Odongyik, a farmer and agent of Totco Uganda Limited, said the transportation expenses involved in growing barley start from taking the seeds up the hill at 5,000 for a 20-kilogram bag of seeds.  

Odongyik revealed that the farmers want the price of barley per kilogram increased to at least 2,000 shillings. 


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Dactus Ogiki, the Lamwo District Commercial Officer, who climbed Agoro hills to see the farms, said the price per kilogram is unfair, given the hardship they endure to transport their produce.  

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Ogiki said he is going back to the sub-county to help them form a cooperative society so that they have a collective voice to better bargain for a better price.  

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Ogiki said he is yet to compute the tons of barley grown by the farmers each year.  

Barley is a grain that is primarily grown as animal feed and an ingredient in making beer, but it is also used in making bread, soup, stew, and other food products.  

Joseph Kawuki, the Agriculture Manager at Uganda Breweries Limited, said before farmers started growing barley, they were told how much the products would be bought per kilogram. 


Kawuki said the farmers’ complaints would have been valid if the price offered before the farmers started growing the crops was reduced during the time of buying the barley.  

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Paul Okello, an Agronomist at Uganda Breweries based in northern Uganda, said barley farmers in Agoro are being offered the highest price by either 25 shillings or 50 shillings compared to other barley growing districts in the country.


Okello revealed that a kilogram of barley in Kabale goes at 1,500 shillings, Kapchorwa 1,525 shillings.


He said the company would have bought the barley direct from the farmers, but vehicles cannot access the hills where the farms are.  

According to Okello, the solution to additional costs to growing barley is not increasing the price per kilogram, but opening access roads so that the produce is easier to transport.  

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Okello said they also transport and offer imported seeds for free to the farmers and they need to recover such costs. 

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