Local farmers across the country have met to discuss the potential to scale up farming to see manufacturers embrace full sourcing of raw materials they use in their production.
Speaking at the forum, the Managing Director of Uganda Breweries Mr. Andrew Kilonzo said that at the core of the Local Raw Materials (LRM) agenda, UBL is making farming more productive and profitable for Ugandan farmers, which is critical in reducing poverty, boosting prosperity and creating jobs. “The use of Local Raw Materials is acknowledged to have a highly positive impact on the economy as it puts earnings directly into the pockets of more local farmers” he said adding that manufacturers could benefit from a fairer operating environment which means they are able to pay farmers more.
“Research from Euromonitor puts the contribution of the packaged drinks in the industry at only 35.5 percent. A significant portion of the industry 64.5 percent is unpacked and illicit. We seek support in enacting policies and laws that protect our industries against the illicit and counterfeit products which costs the government over Shs 1.6 trillion annually in leaked taxes. We also continue to advocate for a well-regulated environment for all players in the sector so that Building Uganda through Buying Uganda is truly a mutually beneficial program,” he said.
“The support from government and lawmakers will go a long way in incentivizing manufacturers to source more, pay more taxes so that the BUBU agenda is mutually beneficial for all parties.”
The Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Frank Tumwebaze, commended Uganda Breweries for their efforts in working with farming communities and for organising this dialogue. “This kind of initiative the private sector at the center of supporting government to realise its objectives as laid out in the National Development Plan III which is poised on creating value addition to strengthen the private sector capacity to drive growth and create jobs.”
“The Uganda Bureau of Statistics, estimates that Agriculture employs 70 percent of the population, contributes about 33 percent of Uganda’s export earnings and makes up about 24 percent of our GDP. By harnessing the potential that a Private Sector led initiative to improve farming output and yield in the country, I am confident that we shall see an even bigger spike in the contribution of Agriculture to our GDP
“I would like to recognize Uganda Breweries for the important work they are doing with their Local Raw Materials Program, which I have heard that so far benefits over 40,000 farming households and we encourage them to do even more as we all strive to promote the excellence of our Ugandan products and produce here and abroad if we are to actualize the Buy Uganda Build Uganda strategic imperative,” he concluded.
Uganda Breweries currently works with over 25000 farmers from all over the country to purchase over 8,000 Tonnes of Barley, 15,000 Tonnes of Sorghum, 18,000 Tonnes of Maize, and 1,000 Tonnes of Cassava; 30 percent of that from Northern Uganda, 25 percent from Eastern Uganda, 35 percent from Western Uganda and 10 percent from Central Region.
Other investments that Uganda Breweries has made in the agriculture sector include; investing in a Mash Filter worth $21.3 million to enhance the capacity to increase the usage of local raw materials in 2010, USD $10 million investment into the local grain sector promotion in 2017, conducting large sorghum trials in Ngenge/Kapchorwa and Nwoya in the last seven years, supplying farmers with quality seeds, modern farming equipment and training throughout the seasons. This has seen the total contribution to the Farming communities jump from an annual injection of Shs 5.7 billion in 2011 to Shs 45 billion Shillings by year ending 2020. The brewery also announced partnerships with the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) and Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) in 2020, geared towards using research and technologies to improve productivity in agriculture.
The Farming Community makes up over 60 percent of the UBL Value chain, indirectly creating employment opportunities for the farming community ecosystem including, hardware supplies, seed and pesticide companies and transportation just to mention a few.