My name is Beckie Nakabugo, I studied Interior design in Kenya however I always had passion for agriculture. I am 32 years old and I am the coordinator of the Uganda Youth Agripreneurs (UYA) from Mukono, Uganda.
An elder leased us 5 acres of farm land for 5 years where we cultivate native and exotic vegetables. Our first target was the traditional marketing system where we sold our produce to the traders in the wee hours of the day. This system presented many challenges, harvesting in the evening and the following early morning delivering to the markets (around 3am!) so that freshness is not lost along the chain and we are also there to compete with other farmers! However, we realized that despite a lot of effort was put in; our benefits were very small as there are many other producers in the market.
Faced by these challenges, we decided to target the higher end market in order to realize profits. The first questions popped up: who could be the high end market customers??? Who has money and willingness to buy high quality vegetables? After some discussions we decided to target the staff of organizations and/or companies.
We developed an online form (http://goo.gl/forms/wmYuPcvGcR) through which we interface with our clients. The idea is simple as figure one below illustrates: the customers fill and submit the form with their order before Thursday at 4pm (1), UYA prepare the order (2) and on Friday before 4pm we deliver the order straight to your table in your office (3), giving the customer the pleasure to enjoy the hassle-free fresh and healthy vegetables (4).
The first two weeks were good. However the customers told us that if they only buy what we produce they will still have to go to the market. So if we wanted to maintain them as customers we needed to work toward the objective of providing enough variety for them avoiding going to the market. Therefore, more items were needed in our ordering form!
The community empowerment and UYA as facilitator!
So, next step was and is to involve our community in this agribusiness. We are currently sourcing some of the products from the farming community nearby but working with the objective to organize farmer groups that produce other vegetables and agri-products so they can supply us on weekly basis with high quality products. This is not an easy task as farmers groups are not very organize, the produce is based on rainfed agriculture and sometimes they lack knowledge on soil fertility management and on how to protect the corps against pests and diseases.
The environmental innovation and creation of opportunities for other age brackets!
Recently, Uganda passed a law that banned the plastic bags. There is however still a big struggle with this challenge in the community. In this era of climate change, UYA did not want to do ‘business as usual’ but we are seeking to do business in an environmental friendly manner! Therefore we are collaborating with Bukadde Magezi Women’s group for old and widow women and they make ecofriendly baskets out of natural papyrus fibers that we sell to our customers, this help us to reduce packaging providing and ecofriendly solution while at the same time helping our community members.
We want to expand! Let’s make some profit in Agriculture
We are sure this project will succeed in Kampala (Uganda), our orders has been increasing since we started, nowadays we are supplying in 2 offices, but we want to expand. However it is not easy, we face some challenges: (i) Not enough constant supply from our farm and the farmers in our community, (ii) lack of knowledge on ICT and marketing strategies, (iii) lack of funds to brand and advertise our products (iv) limitation on rainfed agriculture on open field and (v) transport constrains.
So with the money of this grant we will – timeframe of 6 months:
- Provide trainings to our farmers in our community to achieve constant quality supply: $700
- Best agronomics practices
- Detection on pests and diseases and how to control them
- Post-harvest handling
- For the UYA group – $2,500
- To get some trainings to improve on:
- Agronomic knowledge – Smart climate technologies
- Developing knowledge on ICT s
- Marketing skills
- Simple irrigation system for part of our farm
- Getting some funds for labor in our farm
- To get some trainings to improve on:
- Branding and advertising $1,500
- Transport $300
With this grant we will improve our project, create job opportunities while improving the system within our farming community. Ask me as many questions as you might have!
Blogpost and picture submitted by Beckie Nakabugo (Uganda) – ugandayouthagripreneurs[at]gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
This post is published as proposal #92 of “YAP” – our “Youth Agripreneur Project”.
The first selection of the winners will be based on the number of comments, likes and views each proposal gets.
As a reader, you can support this speaker’s entry:
- Leave a comment (question, suggestion,..) on this project in the comment field at the bottom of this page
- Support the post by clicking the “Like” button below (only possible for those with a WordPress.com account)
- Spread this post via your social media channels, using the hashtag: #GCARD3
Have a look at the other “YAP” proposals too!
As a donor, support young agripreneurs and sponsor this unique project. Check out the side column for our current sponsors.
“YAP” is part of the #GCARD3 process, the third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development.