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Strengthened farming production systems reap better harvests in Uganda

Lean farming was developed with the vision and mission to increase productivity and improve the livelihoods of farmers in Uganda who suffer from low agricultural productivity and the ever increasing costs of farming. In response, Brunel’s Food Supply Chain experts adapted Toyota Automotive’s ‘lean thinking’ model, that reduces material wastes in car manufacturing, to develop sustainable global food supply chains to integrate farming with food supply.

Through consultation with networks of farmers, co-operatives, food processors, and suppliers, a new Food Supply Management System was applied in the Rwenzori region in Uganda. The project is achieved in partnership with Brunel, the University of Ghent, Belgium (consortium lead), and the Mountains of the Moon University (MMU) in Uganda (funded by VLIRUOS Institutional University Cooperation - €3.2 Million (£2.7 Million). The 12-year long project (2013 – 2025) focuses on capacity building and institutional strengthening in areas of relevance to Ugandan farming communities, providing a pilot for future farming solutions.

Analysis of the challenges facing farmers revealed both scepticism to engage with unfamiliar processes, and costly and poor performing farming methods. Coordinating with policy makers and others, Brunel’s team supported farmers to streamline their farming processes, eliminate waste and improve productivity. Evidence proved that Lean Farming increased farmers’ capabilities to produce better food quality, reduce quantities of defective foods, reduce food waste, improve production time, and increase income. 

“Traditional farming methods caused a lot of waste and led to considerable losses of money. But now, by applying lean, you use fewer resources, so you use less energy, less water. This is more sustainable farming.” says, Dr Manoj Dora, Director, Large Collaborative Projects and Principal Investigator, Brunel University London.

The Food Supply Management System is now successfully integrated with traditional farming in Uganda and has been replicated by farming communities in South Africa and  generated progressive economic, social, and ecological results across rural communities.

For more information about the project, please contact: Dr Manoj Dora, Director, Large Collaborative Projects and Principal Investigator, Brunel University London, manoj.dora@brunel.ac.uk,  +44 (0)1895 268380.