By Joshua Kato
When the 2014 best farmers visited the Netherlands in April 2015, one of the companies that they toured was Holland Greentech. The company promotes irrigation systems, greenhouses, and vegetable seeds from the Netherlands.
Although the company was already established in some neighboring countries, it was not in Uganda.
“The discussion between the best farmers and the company officials was good,” says Steven Kasule Bayite, the Policy Officer Agribusiness and Economic Diplomacy Embassy of the Netherlands.
In November 2016, the company was started here. In the next Harvest Money expo in 2017, they were part of the most attractive exhibitors in the Dutch village. Seven years later, they are operating across the country.
On November 23, the company celebrated seven years in Uganda with a CSR event at Nama sub-county, Mukono district.
“We encouraged this Dutch company to come and invest in Uganda because one of the challenges facing smallholder farmers across the country is access to finances. The other is access to useful farming knowledge,” says Kasule.
“Our priority as the Embassy is to make sure that the Dutch come here and share knowledge and other support with smallholder farmers in Uganda,” he said while officiating at the function.
Recently, the Embassy of the Netherlands launched three projects that will tackle food security and nutrition in Uganda. The package is valued at 110m Euros (sh440b).
The projects will run for five years with the main focus on food security and improving the lives of smallholder farmers countrywide. During the launch, the ambassador, Dr Karen Boven, also emphasized the Dutch’s emphasis on smallholder farmers.
“Smallholder farmers and agriculture in general face a number of challenges like climate change, low adoption of innovations, lack of access to finance, lack of risk mitigation measures like agricultural insurance, land degradation, changes in the rainfall patterns which needs us to remain alert on,” she says.
She emphasizes that the role of the local government is key for the success of agriculture projects, and land tenure security is essential for rural development.
“In the near future, our new programs will start with a closer link to the local governments with a focus of scaling up the certification of customary ownership of 400,000 farmers that provide affordable land tenure security,” she says.
In its seven years of operation in Uganda, Holland Greentech has established itself across the country with Mukono district as a major operational zone.
According to Victoria Nakyagaba, the Managing Director, Holland Greenteech the choice of Nama in Mukono to host their seven-year celebrations was not by accident.
“There are many farmers in Mukono who have embraced our technologies and this is why we decided to come and celebrate with them,” she says.
The day was crowned with planting trees at the sub-county.