Uganda: Minister Hails UBL for Creating Market for Ugandan Agricultural Products
By Kenneth Kazibwe
The Minister for Agriculture, Frank Tumwebaze has hailed beer company, Uganda Breweries Limited for creating market for local agricultural products that are sold by farmers to the company as raw materials.
“I would like to recognize Uganda Breweries for the important work they are doing with their Local Raw Materials Program, which I have heard that so far benefits over 40,000 farming households and we encourage them to do even more as we all strive to promote excellence of our Ugandan products and produce here and abroad if we are to actualize the Buy Uganda Build Uganda strategic imperative,”Tumwebaze said.
The agriculture minister was on Wednesday speaking during a forum for farmers hosted by UBL to discuss the potential to scale up farming to supplement government efforts to see manufacturers embrace full sourcing of raw materials they use in their production processes locally.
The forum organized at Hotel Africana in Kampala and ran under the theme “Agriculture as an Enabler to the Buy Uganda Build Uganda Agenda” brought together stakeholders from government, URA, farmers unions and the Private Sector Foundation.
Tumwebaze noted that by buying raw materials from local farmers, the beer company is in a way supporting government realise one of its objectives in the National Development.
“The Uganda Bureau of Statistics estimates that agriculture employs 70% of the population, contributes about 33% of Uganda’s export earnings and makes up about 24% of our GDP. By harnessing the potential that a private sector led initiative to improve farming output and yield in the country, I am confident that we shall see an even bigger spike in the contribution of agriculture to our GDP.”
The UBL Managing Director, Andrew Kilonzo said the beer company which already sources over 95% of its raw materials locally will soon scale up to source 100% of produce in Uganda.
He noted that at the core of the local raw materials agenda, UBL is making farming more productive and profitable for Ugandan farmers, which is critical in reducing poverty, boosting prosperity and creating jobs.
“The use of local raw materials is acknowledged to have a highly positive impact on the economy as it puts earnings directly into the pockets of more local farmers,” Kilonzo noted.
He urged that manufacturers could benefit from a fairer operating environment that means they are able to pay farmers more.
Uganda Breweries currently works with over 25000 farmers from all over the country to purchase over 8,000 tonnes of barley, 15,000 tonnes of sorghum, 18,000 tonnes of maize, and 1,000 tonnes of sassava.
Of these 30% come from Northern Uganda, 25% from Eastern Uganda, 35% from Western Uganda and 10% from the central region.
UBL also invested in a Mash Filter worth $21.3 million to enhance the capacity to increase the usage of local raw materials in 2010, $10 million investment into the local grain sector promotion in 2017, conducting large sorghum trials in Ngenge/Kapchorwa and Nwoya in the last seven years, supplying farmers with quality seeds, modern farming equipment and trainings throughout the seasons.
The brewery also announced partnerships with the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) and Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) in 2020, geared towards using research and technologies to improve production in agriculture.