UGANDA AGRIBUSINESS EXPO PRESS RELEASE

The Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) and its Regional Partners have organized the 3rd Agribusiness Expo for the Mid-Western Region on 28th and 29th June 2013 and will be hosted at Masindi Demonstration Centre-Kihonda.

The theme of this year’s Expo is; “Future of Agribusiness: Quality the key to Competitiveness and Commercialization”.

The 3rd Agribusiness expo seeks to address the current quality issues in the agricultural sector by working towards the gains accrued from the previous agribusiness expos and grain summits which contribute to the realization of a transformed policy environment, improved productivity, improved quality and access to markets at national and regional level.

The Expo brings together national and regional players, over 10,000 Farmers,  Traders, Agro-Input dealers, processors, suppliers of agricultural implements, equipment & machinery, Banks, Insurance companies, researchers, private sector stakeholders and development partners in the grain value chains.

The AGRIBUSINESS EXPO
The Agribusiness Expo specifically seeks to address;

1. The Quality aspects in grain and other agricultural commodities from production, postharvest, processing through to consumption
2. Quality as a catalyst to commercialization of agriculture and access to markets.

Uganda ‘s agriculture is mainly subsistence, dominated by smallholder farmers, least mechanized, using rudimentary methods in production and postharvest.  Lack of skills and factors such as poor infrastructural development; transport systems, lack of proper storage facilities, weather, etc, further affect the quality of agricultural products. Uganda being a net exporter of a number of agricultural commodities remains at a disadvantage at regional markets if quality issues are not tacked. It should be noted that quality starts from seed selection, land preparation, timeliness in agronomic practices, postharvest, through processing to consumption or export.

The Agribusiness Expo seeks to create and strengthen partnerships at both national and regional level through creation of a network with the value chain players to address quality aspects of agricultural commodities and focus on regional and international competitiveness for Ugandan products.

Speaking at the media launch in Kampala, the Deputy Executive Director, UNBS, Mrs. Patricia Ejalu said “The Government recognizes that quality in agricultural production, processing and trade is a goal that can be achieved within the peculiar environmental, economic and cultural context of the country”.

“Therefore we are continuing our efforts to promote quality of agricultural products that are able to perform well in our climate and provide our population with safe, nutritious and affordable food for a healthy nation. Therefore consumers must now be empowered to demand for quality” she said, addressing journalists at Kati Kati Grounds, where the launch was held.

“Uganda’s budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector has been steadily increasing from UGX 135Bn in 2001/2002 to UGX 585.3Bn in 2012/2013. The Ministry of Agriculture, being the country’s major vehicle for transformation of the agricultural sector, has consistently maintained programmes designed to enhance the ability of farmers to increase output, improve quality, and market competitively”

“However a lot still needs to be done on streamlining markets and quality is a key aspect. The Eastern Africa Grain Council has worked closely with the East African Community Member states and the respective Bureaus of Standards to develop and harmonize standards of various grains, aimed at helping the grain sector achieve the quality mark that has been set by EAC” said the Executive Director of Eastern Africa Grain Council, Mr. Gerald M. Masila.

“This injection of resources into the agricultural sector is still inadequate to provide services to farmers such as seed and planting material, fertilizer, livestock feed, agricultural chemicals and packaging material. Investment also needs to be directed to infrastructure e.g. storage, cleaning and drying equipment, etc. in order to support the agribusiness sector in maintaining quality of products” said Mr. Masila.

Additionally, a significant proportion of the funds are needed to employ scientists, professionals and technicians trained in Grain technologies, crop and livestock production, and food technology.

The expo calls for a concerted effort in the pooling of resources and knowledge sharing among the various stakeholders and development partners to ensure best quality agricultural outputs. The expo appeals to government agencies, farmers, traders, millers, agro-processors , agro-input suppliers & dealers, suppliers of agricultural machinery and equipment, service providers including financial institutions, development partners, etc to work together to ensure a boost on quality of Uganda’s agricultural products for consumer health protection and competitiveness on the export markets.

The event will allow stakeholders, encourage potential agribusiness entrepreneurs, raise the level of appreciation for Uganda grown, processed and locally made commodities, and secure a greater linkages between agriculture and business sectors.

“Our support to the agribusiness sector is in 3 components, namely; Value Chain Development sub component which includes trade related Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary and Quality Management Systems, Financial Services Development sub component and the Gender for Growth sub component”. “Our sponsorship for the EAGC Agribusiness Expo 2013,  falls within our Value Chain Development sub component which also focuses on addressing issues of Quality in the agribusiness sector” said the aBi Trust Head of Value Chains Development, Mr. James Byekwaso.  “aBi Trusts is interested in working with partners such as EAGC and UNBS to promote quality and enhance the competitiveness of agricultiral products while ensuring consumer safety”, Mr. Byekwaso added.

EAGC has previously held very successful Agribusiness expos, that last one having been held in Lira, in 2012, in partnership with Ngetta Zonal Agricultural Research & Development Institute (NgeZARDI). The event attracted over 3000 farmers, 9 seed companies and over 30 exhibitors.

The EAGC Country Manager, Lillian Bazaale said that the President, H.E. Yoweri Museveni had been invited as guest of honour at the Agribusiness expo in Masindi, and so far 3 cabinet Ministers had confirmed attendance. She called upon suppliers of agricultural inputs, machinery & equipment, service providers and whoever had something appealing to the agribusiness sector to register as an exhibitor for the event. She also called upon farmer organizations to mobilize farmers to attend as this would be a learning event as well as a showcase of new and existing technology in Agriculture.

Lillian thanked aBi Trust, AgriProFocus, Engineering Solutions, The Cooperative League of the United States of America (CLUSA), Brazafric Enterprises Ltd, Masindi District Local Government. Masindi Seed & Grain Growers Ltd.,  and Masindi District Farmers Association for partnering with EAGC to organize this event and she looked forward to a very successful Agribusiness Expo 2013.

Click here to read more on Uganda ABF

For more information, contact EAGC Uganda on;
Tel: 0312-112 854
email: bbalungi@eagc.org.

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