My name is Lutara Lester and I am a 26-year-old male entrepreneur from Uganda, East Africa. I am a graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in project planning and entrepreneurship from Uganda Christian University. I come from a family of entrepreneurs and farmers, and this is what has pushed me towards pursuing a degree in project planning and also farming at the same time. I decided to grow hot pepper and chilli for export after finishing my university degree, since it seemed to be a very good venture, registering a company, LETO Uganda Limited, to handle all the transactions of the farm under a legal entity.
My project intends to process the chilli and hot pepper from farmers who fail to sell it to exporters. This is to help them reduce their losses while at the same time produce a quality chilli sauce that can be enjoyed by all people. Hot pepper and chilli is exported from Uganda throughout the year, which means there is always availability of chilli and hot pepper. Some of it is always left behind for various reasons that make it not qualify for export quality.
The project will also create employment for people along the value addition chain: farmers, sorters, transporters, processors, packagers, and those in branding, sales, and distribution.
LETO Uganda Limited is a privately owned company registered in 2014. LETO Uganda Limited is the owner of the Lester’s brand trade mark, which produces Lester’s Habanero and Cayenne chili sauce, and Lester’s green chili sauce. The company is temporarily located at Bugolobi, Kampala.
LETO Uganda Limited, under which the Lester’s brand falls is a manufacturer of a variety of organic gourmet sauces made from fresh ingredients locally sourced which include green chilies and Habanero hot peppers , onions , garlic , ginger and other spices.
The company initially grew its own raw materials/vegetables in Lolim, Nwoya district, in northern Uganda, but found a couple of difficulties with the local market and that for export of fresh produce, as well as price instability, so decided to outsource the raw materials and go into value addition by processing the raw material.
LETO Uganda Limited’s vision is to become the top company in the food processing and agricultural-value-added sector, and to produce a variety of affordable, competitive, and high-quality products—locally, regionally, and internationally—while creating opportunities for employment all along the value-addition chain, as well as creating a market for local produce from farmers.
As a company, our motivation comes from our desire to be proactive people where we can create opportunities for employment, creativity, innovation, and research. Uganda is primarily an agricultural country in which the biggest percentage of the population is involved in more subsistence agricultural practices. The little extra that is produced is sold to get money for day-to-day survival of the family. The surplus produce that these subsistence farmers make is sold to large buyers or to the big export companies who then process or sell it as is. The small farmers hardly make any money since the prices are dictated to them by the middle men and exporters, who receive most of the money.
Thus, at LETO Uganda Limited, we aim to find new ways to add value to fresh farm produce so as to prolong shelf life, reduce post harvest losses, secure regional and Western markets, reduce imports by producing the desired goods locally, and exporting the excess—improving the country’s balance of trade while at the same time creating jobs in the various fields of operation.
The company currently has the capacity to produce 9,600 litres or 3,600 boxes per year for 125 g/100 ml and 250 g/250 ml bottles sizes.
LETO Uganda Limited currently does its own distribution and deliveries in and around the country at UGX 36,000 per box for the 100 ml/125 g Lester’s Habanero and Cayenne Chilli Sauce and Lester’s Green Chilli Sauce. And at UGX 42,000 per box for the 250 ml/250 g Lester’s Habanero and Cayenne Chilli Sauce.
Lester’s branded products are currently in over 40 supermarkets in and around Kampala city and in more than 50 restaurants and bars. Through the various planned marketing and sales strategies, the company plans to have a presence in a minimum of 100 supermarkets and 200 loyal and consistent restaurants, catering companies, bars, lodges, guest houses, and hotels from 2016 to 2017.
LETO Uganda Limited is also in the last stages of acquiring National of Bureau of Standards certification, which will allow sale of our various products on the regional market of South Sudan, the Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania.
The USD 5,000 will be used to move the operation to new premises of its own where the production can be done (USD 2700).
The money will also help the company:
- Finalize and acquire National standards Certification (USD 800)
- Increase public awareness through new and better marketing strategies (USD 1,000)
- Help train chilli farmers in better farming and growing practices (USD 500) by the end of 2016.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Lester Lutara (Uganda): lesterspepper[at]gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.
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