Am Joyce Kyalema a young woman entrepreneur aged 29 from Uganda and a gender activist. The founder and CEO of Josmak International (U) Ltd, a 2013 SEED Award Winner. I also serve as the Executive Director of Rural Women and Youth Development Organization (RWYDO), an organization I founded to organize vulnerable youth and women in rural areas to find ways of increasing their household income, nutritional status and food security.
The initiated projects directly empower youth and women to fully participate in their self -coordinated development for self- reliance and to promote gender equality development programs in their communities. In November2014, i was recognized and awarded as a rising star woman entrepreneur by the Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association Limited (UWEAL).
In 2014 I was a finalist in Project Inspire 5 Minutes to Change the World which is a joint initiative from the Singapore Committee for UN Women and Master Card to help young change makers create a better world for women and girls in Asia- Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.
In December 2014, I was chosen to be publishing on iLearn, a global mobile-learning platform for and by women entrepreneurs a platform provided by UN Women’s Knowledge Gateway for Women’s Economic Empowerment. In 2015 was among the 1000 African entrepreneurs who were selected by Tony Elumelu Foundation Enterpreneurship Programme.
In September 2015 I was awarded as the best young woman entrepreneur in Agribusiness by CURAD. I have just completed my mentoring in business programme with the Cherie Blair Foundation for women with a certificate.
What we do
JOSMAK International (U) Limited is an enterprise which was started with an aim of organizing vulnerable women in rural areas to find ways of increasing their household income, food security, nutritional values to help in solving malnutrition in their children and the surrounding areas, un employment for young women and environmental problems where by planting more pumpkins reduces land degradation.
It was established and registered in 2014 to provide a wide range of agricultural value added products. The enterprise is engaged in pumpkin growing and value addition for social, environmental and economic benefits to the Ugandan community.
We are currently offering a variety of organic pumpkin products of good quality, durable and easy to access at national and international market. A sample of these products include; Pumpkin Juice, Wine, Pumpkin Leaves powder made from leaves and flowers, Pumpkin roasted seeds, Pumpkin seeds powder, Pumpkin flour which is used to make bread, cakes, cookies, Bagias, pumpkin soup, pumpkin tea spices, seeds butter among others.
We are environmental conscious and all residues from products are used to make animal feeds and manure for improved agricultural productivity. All these products contain nutritional supplements good for health boosting.
The enterprise is a high social impact business that aims to mitigate the prevalence of malnutrition in Uganda and neighboring countries soon the whole world. It has a significant socio-economic impact on its 80 smallholder farmers and suppliers by working directly with the groups, thus eliminating the need for intermediaries and allowing for a higher price to go directly to farmers.
The business also conducts regular on-the-ground training to farmers through its agronomists and additional trainer education to disseminate best practices throughout its network. Health and nutritional standards of 500 households has improved in the community we are working in. Employment for 80 youth and women in pumpkin growing and value addition created within one year in the enterprise. Food security for 500 households has been improved. Improved access to basic education and sustainable agricultural skills to 80 rural women
What motivates me to do what I do is that after researching that pumpkins are so nutritious, and have many benefits, Pumpkin seeds are 24% protein and are very rich in Zinc, which not many foods contain, yet is important to our body in many ways, including increasing immunity, promoting cell growth and division, improving sleep mood and our senses of taste and smell, promoting eye and skin health, insulin regulation, and decreasing chronic fatigue, depression, acne, low birth weight babies, learning problems and poor school performance in children, prevents prostate cancer among others.
The enterprise also creates many job opportunities at several stages of the value chain, from growing the pumpkins and supplying to the enterprise, through processing different products, packaging, branding, marketing and sales among others for the people in my community. For food security in homes, pumpkins can be kept for more than 8 months when raw after harvest and when processed it can go for up to one year so this enterprise is very good in solving food security. Environmental problems like land degradation can be solved by planting more pumpkins, it retains water in soil and climate resilient crops.
My goal is to be the leading supplier of pumpkin products worldwide so the steps
I want to take to achieve that are:
- To set up a pumpkin processing plant which will enable us to increase on the production and meeting the demands of our customers and getting new ones.
- We want to develop marketing strategies to sell pumpkin products valued at USD 15,000 monthly by end of 2017
- We also want to diversify into processing other vegetables and fruits such as carrots, tomatoes and chili sauce, pineapples, berries among others by December 2016.
- To expand production of pumpkin products to 10 new varieties by August 2016.
- We need to acquire irrigation systems that will be used to water the pumpkin plantations in order to avoid effect of climatic changes on pumpkin crops this will help us produce throughout the year.
What we have done:
- With the help of International Labour Organization/ Youth Enterprenureship Facility grant we got, I have managed to train 50 youth out of school and single mothers how to grow pumpkins and add value to them in the district of Mubende.
- After winning Africa Award with SEED Initiative, I used the seed funds to train other young women in another district of Mityana how to grow and add value to pumpkins. This totals to 80 youth I have trained in two districts who have also trained others which has created employment for them since they were out of school and others had never even gone there. Single mothers can now take care of their children and pay for them school fees.
- I have also acquired some small manual machinery which I use in production of some products.
- Enterprise Uganda provides continuous capacity building and mentorship to the enterprise staff managing the pumpkin enterprise.
If am selected to be a YAP Champion, I will use the funds as follows:
2500 for Certification of products by Uganda National Bureau of Standards.(UNBS) by end of August 2016.
2500 for training other 50 young women in Masaka district in pumpkin growing and value addition who will later train others for job creation by end of September 2016.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Joyce Kyalema (Uganda) – j.kyalema(at)gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
This post is published as proposal #206 of “YAP” – our “Youth Agripreneur Project”.
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37 thoughts on “YAP Proposal #206: “Pumpkin Value Addition Enterprise” (Joyce Kyalema, Uganda)”
An amazing business and amazing woman, not only helping others through increasing food security but also improving permanent skills and knowledge that will advance careers of women in particular; all the while combined seamlessly with her own entrepreneurial ambition, hard work and dedication.
Thank you Steve
I met Joyce just before the SEED Awards 2013. She has been consistent, committed and focused on getting quality pumpkin products on market. Her enterprise is integrates women in the value chain which is a great social addition to her project.
I like the way she sells her products simply with great joy. She always allows for customers to try out (experiential sells)…
Josmark has benefitted many youths and women to be self reliant and also created employment opportunities to many.
#206 is a futute oriented biz. Potential for growth is great
thank you Livingstone
This is a very great innovation above all by a young lady living and working mainly in Africa where people are now turning to Agricultural, Herbal and none-toxic medication for curing their ailments.
Thank you Godfrey
Great person and great product. Innovative and novel. I recommend it.
All the best! Very inspiring!
Great inspiration for women and the economy.
Joyce keep doing the great job. You are a change maker indeed
Great work joyce!
Inspiring beginnings, Joyce entrepreneurial path is a story of resilience which is key for becoming a good entrepreneur and enterprise building
I met joyce a year ago before our bootcamp in nigeria,her business and business models inspires me a lot especially enhancing value of pumpkin,makes her a champion in value addition and women emancipation.
Great work joyce!
Only recently meeting Joyce, I was intrigued by what she did in helping and empowering woman through this avenue of her work. I find what she is doing is remarkable and she is very dedicated and hard working and definitely shows her passion for her innovative work and products, She is very humble and in her achievement in helping others. I can’t wait to try her products.
Great inspiring work by Joyce. the passion of her delivery and will to grow shines through and she is indeed primed for success. Really novel entrepreneurship.
Pumpkin value addition is a unique project in Uganda.I have seen this project creating social,economic and environmental impacts in the lives of rural women.The project also contributes to food security and fights hunger in rural households. Today as we celebrate the new sustainable development goals, this project has already started on the implemented of some of them such as No poverty,Gender equality and creation of job opportunities. I believe if such initiatives are supported we will be able to count successes by 2020. Keep moving the pumpkin value addition team .Uganda is proud of you! Ronald Ssenfuka Clerk. Executive Director Action for Humanitarian Initiates Uganda and Director Green Masters Investments Limited.
Joyce is a representation of the new direction of the African Woman!To take the bull by the proverbial horn!A brave woman with an enormous entrepreneurial perception
Joyce is a self motivated and inspired entrepreneur, Am sure as YAP champion that she desires to be, she would surely meet and exceed her goals. I will recommend her for any entrepreneurship role any day any time. Waiting to see her products in the big malls of the world.
The pumpkin value addition project is very inspirational to the entire world. It has improved lives of rural women,provided job opportunities and improved the health well being of children. I think this project is worthy to be supported such that more women are supported to live their dreams. Thank you to the CEO and the Team .Ronald Ssenfuka Clerk, Executive Director Action for Humanitarian Initiatives Uganda and Director Green Masters Investments Limited.
I met Joyce during the CURAD 2015 Agribusiness Innovation Challenge, where she was the best woman entrepreneur. She is really doing great work in value addition.
This is superb! In what supermarkets can we find these products – across Uganda? I thought the brand name was ‘Klossie’ (I later realised it was ‘Klassie’) but notice that you didn’t mention it in the first paragraphs above, which is a missed opportunity. We need to do lots more brand marketing in order to get you the revenues to keep the business growing and sustainable. I googled Josmak and found it, and thereafter realised that the name was ‘Klassie’. I pledge to support you in whatever small way I can (email following). Congratulations!
Joyce, good job! Only knowing about your pumpkin products/brand today. Try and engage more Youth thru’ social media. Even a YouTube channel can be far reaching. All the best!
The whole idea of using each and everything on the pumpkin plants is amazing, keep it up joyce
Hullo joyce,thanks for the amazing work in the most promising sector of our country uganda. Am only wondering if you buy pumpkins from out growers and if yes then what are the modalities. Kindly link me with your agents to advice me appropriately and hand me the details. my line is 0776830911/0702830911 ,i have searcehd for a line to contact you but in vain.
I have searched around for someone seriously ingaged in the pumpkin value addition cycle but there was none,yet am so much interested in this crop for commercial reasons. I think my discovery of joyce has landed a very knowledgeable and resource person. I am very excited to know more about her “hands of work”
You know what Joyce? you are a super star.Just gone through your story and saw a caring and intelligent African MUM.Keep it up and out of the EAC Spirit please let this happen across East Africa.
I have established 20 acres of pumpkins and I need your market support on +256782371177 on watsups
Joyce, since i first met you in Nairobi at the UN conference, you blew my mind with your initiative of the Pumpkin. I am so happy that you trained over 150 women in Masaka who have started growing pumpkin!!! Well done on that great Initiative. We all know that, ” The contribution of rural female entrepreneurs have been in agricultural activity, which is one of the foundations of rural support for females as they are involved in a lot of these activities. In Uganda, 75 percent of agricultural producers are produced by women (World Bank et al., 2009). Yet their roles are largely unrecognised, and female’s access to and control over resources is limited. We are ll behind in support of this Business.