By Herbert Musoke
Preparations for the Harvest Money Expo 2023 at the Netherlands Embassy are is high gear as over 15 Netherland companies prepare to fly in for the expo.
The Netherlands Embassy in Uganda has been part of this three-day-Expo for the last eight years attracting its companies flying in with their merchandise that they exhibit at the expo.
The Harvest Money Expo, that will take place from Friday, February 10 to Sunday, February 12 at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds is sponsored by the Netherlands Embassy, National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), Champrisa International, UPFRONT Partners, Engineering Solutions Ltd (ENGSOL), Uganda Warehouse Receipting System and the Ministry of Agriculture, animal husbandry and fisheries (MAAIF).
A number of trainings have been set throughout the three days to give farmers technical knowledge of running theirs farms as businesses including children’s sessions that will be facilitated by their fellow children of Dr Emma Naluyima’s MST Junior School. Entrance is shs10, 000 and to attends trainings shs10, 000 a day.
During last year’s Expo, Dr Karin Boven the Netherlands Ambassador in Uganda stressed that the Harvest money Expo presents a lot of opportunities not only for Uganda but also for the Netherlands because it brings all stakeholders and players in the agriculture sector in one place.
“Although both countries have differences, there are many opportunities beneficial to each other. Agriculture in Uganda has a lot of potential looking at the markets and for Netherlands we venture much into innovations and machinery which means there is a lot we can benefit from each other by creating networks,” she said.
Frank Buizer, the agriculture counsellor at the Netherlands Embassy confirmed that 15 companies are in preparations to fly in for the Expo to exhibit and share the technologies, expertise and knowledge with Ugandans.
“For the previous years before the Covid-19 pandemic, our companies used to fly in for the Expo but because in 2020 and 2021 the world was on a lockdown, companies could not fly in. This year, we are happy that our companies will fly-in again to be part of the Exhibitors,” he said.
The Expo presents opportunities to farmers to access finance literacy, technologies, innovations and ideas. He therefore, appeal to all farmers to come and see for themselves what the expo has for them especially in the Dutch village that will bring a number of Dutch companies showcasing their innovations and technologies.
“As it has been the norm, the Netherlands will create a Dutch Village that brings experts in several sectors that will conduct master classes the three days of the expo. Also, we will house the best farmers who will also be sharing their experiences and best practices that will help you transform your farms,” he added.
The embassy has sponsored the expo since it started, and has for the past year been in the center of changing the perception of farming in Uganda especially through the best farmer competitions that has promoted food security and farming as a business as Ugandans now believe there is money in farming if done as a business.
He explained that farmers are major stakeholders in the agricultural sector and therefore, the embassy is glad to partner with Vision Group to organise the Expo because it helps the embassy expand its network, create new partners to work with in the communities as the embassy doesn’t work in isolation.
Steven Kasule, the policy officer Agriculture and economic diplomacy at the Netherlands Embassy, said the Expo is a great opportunity to promote agriculture in Uganda as a business with the several projects and innovations that one can venture into through the production value chain but also learning how to minimise wastage with climatic changes.
“We still have market as a big challenge for our farmers. The expo therefore, presents an opportunity for all stakeholders to network and finds ways of cooperating and work together as business partners,” he explains.
According to Kasule, at the Dutch Village, there will be business trainings where experts will be showing farmers and traders the quality and standard requirements for the international market especially in the Netherlands but also share contacts of possible buyers.
He urged everyone in the agriculture business to save the dates of the Expo but also make sure they pass by the Dutch Village to share the information and opportunities from the Netherlands embassy and its partners.
Josephat Byaruhanga, the senior policy officer food security and Agribusiness at the Netherlands embassy, called on everyone to come to the Expo since there is something for everyone to learn and change their perception about agribusiness.
“We are seeing the population growing every single year not only in Uganda but worldwide which calls for more food yet land as the main factor of production remain constant. This therefore, calls for more innovative systems of farming to maximise production and productivity,” he said.