Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda Breweries Limited hosted farmers on Wednesday to a forum to discuss the potential to scale up farming to supplement government efforts to see manufactures embrace full local sourcing of raw materials they use in their production processes. The forum which run under the theme Agriculture as an Enabler to the Buy Uganda Build Uganda Agenda brought together stakeholders from Government, Tax Body, Farmers Unions and the Private Sector Foundation.
Uganda Breweries which already sources over 95% of its raw materials locally, hosted the forum to attract the different stakeholders to weigh in on how all entities can work together to support manufacturing industries to scale up to source 100% of produce in Uganda.
Speaking at the forum, the Managing Director of Uganda Breweries 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 that 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%. A significant portion of the industry 64.5% is unpacked and illicit. We seek support in enacting policies and laws that protect our industries against illicit and counterfeit product which costs the government over UGX 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.
Research from Euromonitor puts the contribution of the packaged drinks in the industry at only 35.5%. A significant portion of the industry 64.5% is unpacked and illicit. We seek support in enacting policies and laws that protect our industries against illicit and counterfeit product which costs the government over UGX 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 law makers 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 Fishers 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% of the population, contributes about 33% of Uganda’s export earnings and makes up about 24% 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 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% of that from Northern Uganda, 25% from Eastern Uganda, 35% from Western Uganda and 10% 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 trainings throughout the seasons. This has seen the total contribution to the Farming communities jump from an annual injection of UGX5.7 billion in 2011 to UGX45 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 production in agriculture.
The Farming Community makes up over 60% of the UBL Value chain, indirectly creating employment opportunities for the farming community eco system including, hardware supplies, seed and pesticide companies and transportation just to mention a few.