By David Lukiiza
Uganda has the unrivaled potential of being the food basket of the East African Community (EAC). This is good news for the country, which is part of the Great Lakes region.
With support from the government, Uganda can export processed foods and beverages made from organic foods targeting the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) bloc, that comprises of 21 African member states that came together with the aim of promoting regional economic integration.
Maggie Kigozi, the founder of Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) who is also a business activist and a consultant, says this can only be possible if local investors are supported and encouraged to invest in the sector. Kigozi said this during the launch of Blick Mulberry wine in Kampala on Monday.
She commended Arthur Blick Senior, who is the proprietor of the winery, for creating employment opportunities for Ugandans by choosing to invest in his country.
“When Blick got an accident in the 1980s, his family thought that was the end of him. However, for the years he has been confined in a wheelchair, he has not failed to positively contribute to his community and to national development,” Kigozi says. Blick Senior was famous in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the motorsport industry. However, for the last 30 years, he has applied himself to, and invested in agribusiness.
He runs the Mpata Agro Tourism Centre, located in Kisisi Village, Mpata sub-county, Mukono district. The centre is setting up an integrated processing park for several products, such as honey, lemonade jam from lemon, white wine from star fruits, and coconut processing.
“As such, when local businesses thrive, it means more revenue for the government; while at the same time contributing to the fight against unemployment,” she said. Talking about export promotion, Kigozi called upon Ugandans to invest in agriculture and the agro-processing industry. “Uganda is endowed with fertile soils and a favourable climate, which we have not put to proper use yet,” she said.