Covid-19 Rapid Response: Supporting Value Chains & Promoting Food Security in UgandaTrade and Market Information Platform

Working with TradeMark East Africa to support COVID safe value chains and improve resilience for farmers, traders, transporters and aggregators.

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted supply chains, particularly in Uganda, leading to decreased trade and challenges in maintaining safe supply chain processes. To address this, Sauti, TruTrade, and ResponseMed implemented a project focused on enhancing the agri-food supply chain in Busia District, Uganda. Outputs included a digital ordering system and the expansion of digital health resources, aiming to improve food security and resilience in the agricultural market systems of Uganda.


With the onset of COVID-19, supply chains were immediately impacted. Implementing measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, such as restricting the number of workers at transport locations, had an impact on the volume of products that could be transported. Uganda’s supply chain networks were not equipped with the technology to access information around the effects and precautions necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while also ensuring consistent supply chain processes.

This disruption was unprecedented on East African economies. According to a study produced by the “Africa Growth Initiative” at Brookings, trade statistics from KNBS confirmed a notable decline in imports, reexports, and intra-regional trade. Of special concern is Kenya’s integral role in intra-EAC trade, underscoring the worrisome decrease in exports to other EAC member states (Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda), which could be attributed to curfews, lockdowns, and cross-border conflicts arising from health concerns.


The project aimed to address the negative impacts of COVID-19 on the agri-food supply chain in Busia District, Uganda, with a focus on three critical needs: facilitating smallholder market access, access to affordable produce for urban consumers, and COVID-19 safe supply chains. The consortium of partners, TruTrade, Sauti, and Response Med, provided a farm-to-fork solution to promote food security and support the sustainability and resilience of agriculture market systems in Uganda.

Sauti supported the sustainability and resilience of agriculture market systems in Uganda and promoted food security. The following outputs were achieved during the project period:

  • An ordering system on the Sauti platform that allows for orders and registration of interest, with order information collected (variety, price point, quantity and frequency of re-order) and integrated with TruTrade’s ordering system.
  • Rapid survey report on market demand for specific value chains in Busia (KE/UG), Nairobi and Kampala.
  • Sauti East Africa with medical experts Response-Med, developed and disseminated customized COVID-19 awareness and prevention materials, including short animated clips and radio ads specific to the agriculture supply chain actors in Uganda.
  • Expanded Sauti’s Trade and Market information platform to include COVID-related and safe-handling information for farmers and traders.
  • Sauti conducted FGDs in Bungoma and Makueni to explore the marketing process for cross-border traders and farmers, pilot a buyer/seller marketplace, and get feedback for methods to facilitate trader and farmers’ market searches.
  • Sauti conducted trainings for 75 traders on the Sauti digital Marketplace platform to enhance Covid-19 safe supply chains. The trainings were conducted in both Kenya and Uganda and the trained traders were to act as ambassadors and sensitize other traders on the digital marketplace platform that aim to ensure minimal physical interactions between buyers and sellers. Sauti also distributed 75 aprons in addition to other info materials that aimed to increase knowledge about the marketplace.
  • Conducted a joint Kenya/Uganda workshop for business, government and civil society stakeholders to bring them up to speed with our Sauti information services and especially the new marketplace feature and solicit feedback. This stakeholders meeting was held in Busia, Uganda.
  • Sauti worked with Jogoo (UG) and Emuria (KE) FM radios to produce an advert to be aired on the two radio stations to promote the Sauti Marketplace. The ads are currently running on the two radio stations.
  • Sauti carried out a baseline of farmers, agents, traders and transporters.
  • Sauti carried out an endline of farmers and agents working with TruTrade and platform users of Sauti Africa platform (which include traders, farmers, retailers, transporters and other service providers).


No. of value chain actors received COVID-19 awareness and prevention info:

  • COVID-19 related SMSs were sent to 10,581 unique recipients, of these 2820 accessed COVID-19 information on Sauti platform. 3183 in total accessed COVID-19 information on Sauti’s USSD/SMS Uganda platform. In total 10,944 distinct value chain actors received COVID-19 awareness and prevention info.

% of surveyed population adopting COVID-safe measures:

  • According to endline data 100% of agents, 98% of farmers and 100% of platform users surveyed reported that they changed their behaviour because of the COVID-19 information they received through Sauti’s SMSs, information accessed on Sauti Platform or radio shows & ads supported by the project. Across agents, farmers, platform users 99% reported washing their hands, 98% reported wearing a mask, 89% avoid handshakes and physical greetings, 33% avoid using cash and 57% avoid sharing objects such as pens or phones.

COVID Information: 100% of agents, 98% of farmers and 100% of platform users received information on how to stay safe when trading or transporting agricultural products from Sauti. Majority received this information through SMS sent out by Sauti and radio shows and ads implemented by the project. Minority received this information by accessing COVID-19 information hosted on the Sauti platform.

Changes in Behaviour: 100% of agents, 98% of farmers, and 100% of platform users surveyed reported they changed their behaviour because of the COVID-19 information they received through SMS information from Sauti, on Sauti’s platform, or radio shows & ads supported by the project:

  • 100% of agents, 97% of farmers and 99% of platform users reported that they wash or sanitize their hands more often than they used to.
  • 100% of agents, 95% of farmers, 98% of platform users wear a mask more often than they used to.
  • 92% of agents, 82% of farmers, 94% of platform users reported that they avoid handshakes and physical greetings.
  • 42% of agents, 32% of farmers, 26% of platform users reported avoiding using cash or adopting other safe practices around cash handling (like sanitizing before and after handling cash)
  • 58% of agents, 52% of farmers, 60% of platform users reported avoiding sharing objects such as phones and pens.

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