BY BANKERS REPORTER
Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) through its Lead Firm Structure Project and Mukwano Industries Limited has pledged to turn 50,000 youth into commercial farmers in the agricultural value chain over the next five years.
The initiative is support by the MasterCard Foundation. The youth will work directly with Mukwano Industries by supplying inputs. Mukwano is a major player in the in East and Central Africa covering manufacturing, agriculture, and logistics supply chain.
Through the partnership, Mukwano Industries Limited as a Lead Firm will equip farmers with skills to train small scale farmers on Good Agronomic Practices (GAP) and Post-Harvest Handling Practices (PHH) through Identification and registration of Smallholder farmers (households) in to producer Organizations (groups) with support from Local government leaders and the already existing Mukwano extension service networks at parish levels.
The chief executive officer Mukwano Industries Limited Tony Gadhoke said throughout the Mukwano Industries agricultural value chain, there is a sh251 billion economic opportunity for the youth to tap into the supply chain.
He said, within Uganda alone the youth can be suppliers, and providers of different services in the supply chain including farmer mobilization and organization, farmer management and extension services, and financial service provision.
Currently, Mukwano Industries “is only utilizing 40% of the available plant capacity due to inadequate Grain supply of Sunflower and Soybean. This means that over UGX175.5 billion in economic value, enough to employ millions of youth in this country, is lost every year in the agricultural supply chain which this partnership will rectify.”
Speaking at the partnership launch held at the Mukwano Industries manufacturing plant in Industrial Area- Kampala, Samuel Yalew Adela the Country Lead at the Mastercard Foundation Uganda said,
“The Mastercard Foundation is pleased to support this new partnership, which has the potential to be truly transformational for young people. Young people in Uganda are among the most enterprising in the world. With the right support, they are ready to bring that energy and innovation to the agricultural sector—an engine of our economy—not just to improve their own lives, but to improve the lives of their families, the well-being of communities, and the resilience of the country.”
PSFU as the anchor implementing partner through the Lead Firm Structure Project will create a total of 300,000 work opportunities in sectors of; agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and hospitality, and construction and housing with 70% of the beneficiaries being young women. We have so far generated up to 142,000 potential work opportunities through 16 Lead Firms. The Government has been instrumental in making this happen by creating a conducive environment for enterprise development.”
Francis Kisirinya, Acting Executive Director, PSFU added said: “Agriculture remains the backbone of Uganda’s economy and if there’s anything that has become more apparent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is that health and agriculture are key industries we need to focus on considering the demand and readily available market, which if strategically addressed will enable us do away with prevailing challenges such as youth unemployment.
“With the Lead Firm Structure Project, we are partnering with Lead firms in the agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and hospitality sectors to utilize the opportunity gaps identified across the value chain. We have so far on-boarded 17 out of 80 lead firms- Mukwano being the 17th. We are excited about the partnership with Mukwano Industries Limited because with this, we will be able to make measureable and lasting impact in Uganda.
“We call upon all firms with the potential to create dignified and fulfilling opportunities for the youth to join us in this initiative to build a sustainable future for our young people. I would also like to thank our partner, the Mastercard Foundation that has supported PSFU’s efforts in impacting the lives of young people of this country.”
This project will be implemented in areas of; Amolatar, Oyam, Apac, Agago, Pader, Omoro, Alebtong, Kole and Lira districts.