By the Independent Team
Prudence Ukkonika started making wine on a small scale in 2000 drawing an inspiration from her departed son Godwin Ukkonika who initiated the project. With just Sh100, 000 ($28.5), Ukkonika kicked off the project inspired by the heaps and volumes of leftover fruit dumped along the streets and markets.
“I always looked at the dumped fruits as wastage yet they could be put to fruitful use. I took a decision to start making organic wines and juices using the abundant fruit,” said Ukkonika. Now with the business worth standing at over Sh500million making an average of 50,000 liters of wine, Ukkonika’s K-Roma limited that makes Bella wine currently employs over 20 permanent staff including her childrenalongside 12 farmers.
Bella wine is made from a variety of fruits including grapes, pineapples, passion fruits, hibiscus calyxes and bananas among others.
Success Tips: `Do it yourself, work to perfection’
Hardworking, innovative, risk taking and opportunity seeking are some of the features that define Ukkonika. But she is also a tough lady who does not tolerate mediocrity. She works closely with employees but it is tough when they make mistakes. This is what makes her fully engaged in production and marketing of the product.
According to her the name Bella means‘Belief Leads to Lasting Achievement’. She indeed believed and now sells her wine not only in Uganda but Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya.
“There is no reason to beg or let others do what you can afford to do yourself. This is the only way you can guarantee success and perfect results,” she says. Ukkonika, 15 years down the road, has immediate plans to increase the capacity of underground fermented juice because they do not use any chemicals in the fermentation process. The agri-business entrepreneur is also working on securing an international licence to export raw juice.