Govt, UBL deal to guarantee market for farmers

Operation Wealth Creation chief coordinator Gen Salim Saleh and Uganda Breweries Limited managing director Mr Alvin Mbugua shortly after signing an MoU in Nwoya District. PHOTO / COURTESY

The Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) has said it signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) to guarantee market for cassava, sorghum and barley which are widely grown by farmers in the country.
OWC said in a statement that UBL shall jointly undertake different exercises such as capacity building of selected farmers in the use of advanced agronomic practices and technologies, provide inputs, provide crop protection materials like pesticides, and purchase the produce.
Maj Kiconco Tabaro, the OWC spokesperson, told Daily Monitor yesterday that the Memorandum of Understanding for the five-year partnership was signed by heads of the two parties, Mr Alvin Mbugua Managing Director of UBL, and Gen Salim Saleh, the OWC Chief coordinator.
He said the agreement was signed on Tuesday at Purongo – Afro-Kai Center in Nwoya District, Northern Uganda.
Many farmers in the country are currently grappling lack of market for their produce as production increases due to improved varieties of crops and the adoption of modern farming technologies.
OWC said that under this arrangement, it will, through the government’s Parish Development Model (PDM), coordinate relevant institutions of government to enable farmers increase their production and improve post-harvest handling of all the crops.
Mr Mbugua said in the statement that the agreement will ease access to raw materials for making alcohol and help farmers to confidently increase production. He didn’t disclose how much they will buy the farm produce.
“As the private sector, sometimes our reach can be limited by resources and teams to manage mobilization efforts. Partnering with public sectors like we have with OWC, significantly increases the farmers that we currently reach, easily moving us from impacting over 45,000 farmers to double or more,” he said.
Recently, UBL entered a partnership with NARO to foster and promote research and development aimed at advancing agricultural production and productivity for rural farmers. UBL has also been working with farmers' cooperatives in the country to promote the production of the said crops.
OWC said they will work with UBL towards marketing and advancing export promotion of the crop by-products to the wider East African Community (EAC) and the rest of Africa and global markets as a measure to create wealth at household levels.
In Uganda, the agricultural sector contributes over 25 per cent of national GDP and employs over 70 per cent of Uganda’s population which provides great conduit for economic growth.  
Gen Saleh said the partnership with UBL will foster their agenda of increasing productivity and market access to farmers.
“The partnership is going to be a great avenue for changing the adverse position of the farmers in the value chains of those strategic crops by improving their production and productivity and having market from a willing and ready buyer in UBL, one of the biggest manufacturers and exporters in the whole of the East African Region,” he said.
“We aim to empower small holder farmers in most of our efforts at OWC. The role of Private Sector in achieving the government's development agenda by driving agricultural productivity, opening up markets, and facilitating increased private investment in the sector cannot be undermined,” he added.