KAMPALA, September 25, 2023 -Under the public private partnership (PPP) arrangement, government has extended support to private warehouse operators to offer grain storage and standardisation services to farmers and farmer groups across the country.
“The move is part of government’s effort to improve the quality of Ugandan grain and make it more competitive in the region and ensure better returns for the farmers,” said Deborah Kyarasiime the managing director Uganda Warehouse Receipt system Authority [UWRSA].
She made the remarks days ago during a site visit at the Tonga Investment grain facility in Mubende district which is under renovation with support from government through the UWRSA. The facility will be used by farmers to store their grain, and also have it graded before delivery to the market.
Under the warehouse receipt system, farmers collect their produce, sometimes through cooperatives, and store it in a gazetted licensed warehouse where they are issued with a receipt which they can use to look for markets or stake it as collateral in financial institutions to access funding.
Kyarasiime noted that the warehouse receipt system offers a good platform through which the non-bankable in the country, especially farmers can be brought into the money economy for the benefit of households and the wider economy.
Robert Mwanje, the managing director Tonga investment and also the chairman the Grain Council of Uganda [TGCU] lauded government for the support and stressed the importance of the partnership in driving the grains quality agenda, which he said is key in helping Uganda firm its position as a major food basket for the region.
“We have embarked on a journey of standardising this facility [Tonga Investment grain facility] and the actual winner is the farmer who will have a good facility to keep and preserve his produce,” he said.
He said that Uganda is endowed with good soils and rainfall which many times support better harvests, however failure to preserve what is harvested undermines this advantage.
“Drying the produce, processing it and keeping it is always a challenge to the farmer,” he said, adding that the facility will help deal with this challenge.
Part of the support extended to Tonga Investments include a dryer, a weighbridge, and paving of the facility which will be open to farmer farmers in the greater Mityana area.
The latest development comes at the time when dealers and importing countries like Kenya and South Sudan have raised concerns over the quality of Ugandan maize.