GFAR blog

YAP proposal #112: Adding Value to Local Chilli Production (Lutara Lester, Uganda)

IMAG0603My 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]

The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.


This post is published as proposal #112 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
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  • Spread this post via your social media channels, using the hashtag: #GCARD3


Have a look at the other “YAP” proposals too!

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“YAP” is part of the #GCARD3 process, the third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development.

51 thoughts on “YAP proposal #112: Adding Value to Local Chilli Production (Lutara Lester, Uganda)”

  1. Lester’s chilli has a rich flavour on top of a long shelf life. I was equally impressed by the green chilli. I highly recommend this product and the entrepreneur.

  2. This is such a great initiative as farmers of red pepper are having challeges of adding value to there produce. Cheers

  3. This is a great initiative as a solution to the narjet bottle necks the farmers are facing in places like nakaseke e.t.c including the surplus produce on the market. Keep it up…cheers

  4. Good stuff. Tasted the chilli and I think you have got it right. Good luck and hope you win.

  5. Iam pleased to support Lester Lutaras proposal as adirect consumer of his product.
    I have consumed lesters chillie and i am pleased to give feedback that the product is of high quality and is also able to give me intuition as a returning customer.

    I also can testify that I have had change in life style as I don’t have digestion issues which I have had previously and was advised to consume chillie to improve my metabolist

    1. Wow. Thank you Ababa. I am glad that our product was able to help you in that way. Thank you for supporting our project.

  6. Lester’s chilli is not only amazingly hot, it also is well flavoured giving 100% customer satisfaction.
    I must say, it never leaves my fridge.
    Well done.

  7. Letter’s chillies sauce is simply AMAZING. …there’s no better way to say it. Lots of love and support.

  8. This is a very well thought through proposal, and this young man has demonstrated true entrepreneurship with a large vision for development of our country and reducing inequities where the farmers do not share much in the profit.

    1. Thank you Lydia. We have to start small but being able to produce what we need. And eventually the big wheels will start to turn too.

  9. Very good work. I tried your chilli when I was kn Uganda and looked for it all over to buy myself some.

  10. Good work @lutara, don’t turn back. Continue chasing the sky and let it be the limit. May all your dreams come true. Once again good work!

  11. Lester’s enterprise is a great achievement and an amazing example of how Ugandan youth has the potential for true enterpreneural growth and success as well as a benchmark for agricultural prosperity. Top marks

  12. This is a very good initiative considering that the prices of chilli offered by most export companies in Uganda are soo volatile. Besides some companies offer very hard conditions to farmers and they are not always test r to buy from the farmers. So providing us farmers with an alternative that is reliable is reassuring. Thank you

  13. Glad you’re following through your dreams Lester. We did have a conversation about your plans during a fashion show at the serena hotel about three years ago and am very impressed you have actually implemented this..

    1. Hi Richard. Thank you very much. There was no other way than to see it through. There are plenty of opportunities out there. We just need to take them up and see them through.

  14. I’m running to the supermarket to try out these sauces. Keep it up Lester.
    I would encourage you to come up with a very aggressive branding and marketing strategy. People always pay most attention to what they see!
    It can be a huge investment, but it will bring results in a big way too.

    1. hi Sheena. You are absolutely right. The first thing to catch the eye is appearance. Thats why branding is so important. We are working on various strategies to help us better create awareness and help penetrate the market better so as to improve sales and our market share. please share your email with me so that we can share so ideas. Thank you.

  15. A colleague brought this chilli back and we all love it. You should definitely look into selling it out here in the UK. Good luck to you and much respect.

  16. Lesters chilli is the best so far on the market. Once you taste it you are hooked and cannot enjoy your dish without. Follow your dream Lester and you will get there albeit slowly but surely.

  17. This is a great initiative. Adding value, enriching lives, reducing trade imbalances and alot more. I wish you the very best. Out to look out for your green chilly.

  18. Good work Lester. This is a good example for all youth allover the world to create opportunities not just to benefit but their communities. I can testify that the product is great tasted it several times. Good job Lester.

  19. Lesters chilli sauce has an amazing flavour as well as health benefits. Can’t have a meal with out it. LOVE IT.

  20. Expansion is key, and you have that certainly in product line, next is customer base, good stuff, this is what entrepreneurship is about

  21. I am truly impressed by this piece. I am impressed by what this young man has done with a local product.
    Let us support this budding entrepreneur

  22. Lester’s chili initiative is a great one that should be supported. Most impressive is that this young entrepreneur after graduation did not focus on ‘ white collar job’ but is already generating own income training farmers and selling in leading supermarkets! And their budget is very modest! The initiative will not only create employment but demonstrate to other young graduates that they can make a difference even with modest resources.

    1. Thank you Deborah for your compliments. that is very true. we can do a lot with a small budget and more importantly create the jobs that we seek. i believe agriculture and value addition is the way to go for Uganda considering the abundance of fertile soils and favorable climate that the country enjoys.

  23. Balistique and super tastey. For the love of hot stuff and real quality…..LESTER’S CHILLI is the deal.

  24. I have taken’s UN believable that’s a brainchild of a 26 year old graduate.. it would be great to give more coverage for many Ugandans to know about it.

    1. Thank you Franny. there are many more brilliant minds out there, we just need to avail them the opportunity to show what they can do.

  25. I recently tried Lester’s chilli sauce and I must say I got value for my money..I support your initiative 👏

  26. Lester you are amazing and indeed an entrepreneur. Your chili sauce is great. Keep up the good work. Can I have a box of 250ml one please. I’m waiting and be blessed.

  27. Lester’s chilli has an edge over all other chilli producers in the region because of the natural and organic touch.The fact that it has no oil components like all the other chillis on the market sets it apart for me.

    1. hi Roy, thank you very much for your support. yes we have trade marked our brand. we intend to expand our operation as we grow to increase the variety and range of products we have and in so doing employ more youth either directly or indirectly . we are currently in talks with some marketting and branding companies and are coming up with a couple of strategies that we believe will properly help us create more awareness about our products.

  28. Thank you for this good initiative Lester.
    I like the fact that you are creating jobs for many other youths out there.
    How do you plan to increase these jobs over the years?

  29. Lesters chilli is truly an amazing product th flavors and taste are unique and it’s shelf life is good

  30. Lester,that is a great initiative.can you offer market if i encourage some members from my community to grow hot pepper? am in Lira and count me as one of the people ready to support you

  31. Hey Mr Lutara Lester am interested in finding out about the machinery ueed in processing because am doing a resaerch on design and construction of red chili pulveriser machine at BUSITEMA UNIVERSITY am Kamoga Ivan persuing a bachelors in Agro-processing engineering and therfore am interested in mechanising processing to avoid human contact on agro products so as to ensure that there is no contamination.

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