Uganda to promote agricultural entrepreneurs
The Ugandan Investment Authority (UIA) has announced it will promote agricultural entrepreneurship and productivity this year, in a bid to meet the challenges presented by global food shortages, reported local news website Daily Monitor.
According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, the country only exported $1.1 million in fruit products in 2009. Fruit export figures have not yet been released for 2010 but the UIA reported $57 million worth of investment into licensed agricultural projects last year.
Uganda exports fruits such as pineapples, passion fruit, citrus, pawpaw, mangoes, avocados, bananas and jack fruits.
UIA executive director Dr Maggie Kigozi told the Daily Monitor that the authority would run entrepreneurial training programs about how to access finances, formulating business plans and book keeping, in conjunction with the Private Sector Foundation Uganda and Enterprise Uganda,
“Our challenge is creating farmer entrepreneurs. Farmers also have to be trained like businessmen because farming is an important activity and a business,” she was quoted as saying.
The country’s dominant cash crop is still coffee, with agriculture itself contributing 21% to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 70% of employment.
The Daily Monitor reported that 72% of Uganda's licensed projects are foreign-owned and 7% were in the form of joint ventures.
A consortium including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Technoserve and Coca Cola recently announced an US$11.5 million partnership to promote small fruit farmers in Uganda and Kenya, British newspaper The Guardian reported.
Photo: Flickr, Eduard Grebe