Research & Analysis

National Survey and Segmentation of Smallholder Households in Uganda

In close collaboration with GIZ, CGAP conducted a nationally representative survey of smallholder households between August and September 2015. This study sought to comprehensively map the many activities, interests, aspirations, barriers and pressures facing smallholder households. The questionnaire also explored nonagricultural household activities, financial practices and interests, as well as challenges and aspirations.

This report shares the findings, observations and insights from the national survey of smallholder households in Uganda. It begins with an overview of the research approach, core program objectives, research questions, preliminary phases of development, and topics included in the questionnaire. It then profiles smallholder farmers in Uganda, including their household demographics, farmographics, and decision-making, as well as how farmers self-identify and characterize their identity, and what motivates them to do the work they do. This comprehensive exploration of the lives of smallholder farming households sought to answer the following three questions:

  • What does the community of practice need to know or do to support smallholder farmer households build resilient and productive livelihoods?
  • How can financial mechanisms respond to the relevant needs and desires of smallholder households?
  • What types of market strategies and approaches can cultivate the uptake and use of financial mechanisms?

The report examines how smallholder households in Uganda manage their income and expenses, along with the issues they face that threaten income and often lead to financial instability. It then describes financial inclusion in the smallholder sector, exploring household tools that are essential for financial inclusion, including mobile phones and national identification documents, as well as adoption of financial products, awareness, barriers, and interests.

This report has three main goals:

  1. Build the evidence base for those working in agricultural finance so that assumptions and/or isolated observations pair with known, reliable representative data about the population.
  2. Connect readers with the unique realities of smallholder farmers in Uganda that could otherwise be overlooked, oversimplified, or erroneously generalized from other smallholder farmer markets.
  3. Catalyze conversations about “what next” for smallholder-farmer-centered strategies, products and approaches that facilitate agricultural, as well as household finance.

The actual survey and full body of research will support a number of financial and agricultural inquiries that arise within communities of practice, for both the near and long term.

Related Resources


Over three-quarters of the population in Uganda are involved in the agriculture sector. Yet despite their active financial and agricultural lives, smallholders in Uganda have few tools to manage their irregular and volatile household cash flows.

Each short section in this summary complements CGAP data and insights for each country and addresses what the data tells us and what this means for FSPs and others.