Kühne Foundation - HELP Logistics

The Right Place at the Ripe Time

HELP Logistics, in partnership with IFAD, assisted the Government of Uganda to assess an oil palm supply chain on Kalangala Island, where we discovered an erronious behaviour that lost farmer collectives USD 257,382, while incurring unnecessary transportation costs of USD 11,000 each year.

Millions of dollars are invested in agrilculture in Sub-Saharan Africa e to alleviate poverty and improve smallholder farmer livelihoods. But is this investment always effective? When it comes to supply chains, HELP Logistics is uniquely positioned to improve how these supply networks are operated.

HELP Logistics partners with organizations that work with small-holder farmer collectives to ensure that the right supply chain management practices in food systems are in place andthe best value for these investments.

Agricultural products that move through supply chains have unique physiological characteristics. Understanding their underlying biological composition and how this will be affected as it moves through the supply chain allows HELP Logsitics to find the right, tailor-made solutions for individual products.

During a recent supervision mission to Kalangala Island, Uganda in September, we discovered that smallholder farmers harvested unripe oil palm fresh fruit bunches hoping that in due time they will ripen,as is the case with most other similar horticultural crops, and then get processed.

However, this was an incorrect assumption. These kinds of generalized assumptions lead to logistics inefficiencies further downstream. In this case, it was reducing the revenue of these small holder farmer collectives by up to USD 257,382, and it also meant that they incurred unnecessary transportation costs of up to USD 11,000 each year. 

Through its partnership with IFAD, HELP Logistics assisted the Government of Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries (MAAIF to bridge the gap between agronomy and logistics by recommending a series of training workshops for farmers and field officers) on specific issues related to the interaction of specific commodoties and their supply chain, and by providing improvements to their fertilizer application calendars.

These recommendations, in turn, ensure better coordination between field officers and warehouse operations, making certain that this time sensitive input always gets to farmers on time and in the right quantities – to minimize wastage and ensure maximum returns.

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