A team of experts and scientists from State House has said more farmers want to benefit from value addition trainings so that they can earn more money.
Engineer Sheba Kyobutunji, who led the State House team that visited various cooperatives, individual manufacturers and local leaders in western Uganda last week, told New Vision that value addition is a key priority for President Yoweri Museveni and the Government.
“By value addition, we mean producing finished products that are packed and ready for consumption in the market. When we add value to our products, we are able to earn more from selling them as finished products than as raw products or materials,” she said on Friday.
This, Kyobutunji noted, explains how other countries have been able to become transformed even when they do not produce their own materials.
“But to be able to add value to for example farm produce, you need to know how to do it, you need to have the right tools and equipment, you need to consider the business aspects such as the market linkages (local and international), the institutional linkages, and many other factors that shape your success as a value-added producer,” she explained.
She said last week President Museveni sent them to visit the western region to understand the level of participation of farming communities in value addition, the level of interest that they have in value addition and the challenges they currently face.
“By making this assessment, we can know who we should start to support with the right interventions and identify gaps to address,” Kyobutunji said.
The team from State House included Godfrey Semujju, Wilfred Ahaisbe, Dr Jessica Nanyunja Kalibbala, Dr Charity Mwebesa, Engineer Susan Kageye, Dr Hillary Emmanuel Musoke Kisanja, Engineer Safina Nakazibwe, and Dr Joel Isabirye.
This was the first phase of a national engagement with primary producers and early adopters of value addition in Uganda.
Dr Mwebesa said they discovered that many people had taken the President’s message of adding value to their produce seriously and that they were eager to embrace it.
“While some have started, others still lack the technical knowledge and capacity to engage in value addition. They are not yet aware of the linkages between various government bodies that impact on value addition, the direction of the whole process and which agencies they can turn to for guidance,” she said.
The marathon tour of the region saw visits to milk producers and processors, farmers, wineries, coffee production and processing facilities and district leaders.
What district leaders say
At Ntungamo district council, Samuel Muchunguzi, the chairperson and his five-member committee commended the President for driving industrialization by inspiring local producers to begin value addition.
The chief administrative officer, Nasser Mukiibi also appreciated the President for this great contribution and said that the district was ready to participate in the incoming industrialization initiatives.
The team met Nelson Tugume, the founder of Inspire Africa, who is in the process of setting up a coffee processing facility in Ntungamo. They also toured the facility which is set to boost value addition for coffee and other agro based products as well as enhance agro tourism in the area.
Dr. Hillary Kisanja, the private secretary to the President in charge of value addition, thanked President Museveni for this programme that he said would be the lasting solution for industrialization in Uganda.
“Most countries that have fully developed economies tapped all the segments of the population to participate in the process of industrialization. With this new programme, the President is solving one of the last hurdles in our industrialization process,” he said.
According to the team, the move to double efforts in industrialization comes at a time when President Museveni has decried the colossal loss of revenue to foreign manufacturers who buy Uganda’s raw materials at a pittance only to return finished products to sell at exorbitant prices.
The President has also recently complained about Africa’s combined gross domestic product being far less than Japan’s because of its failure to add value to its products for sale.