By Jeff Andrew Lule
Women in the field of agribusiness in Uganda are to enhance their networking and partnerships during the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and G77 plus China global summits scheduled to take place at Speke Resort Munyonyo, Kampala.
According to Dr. Paulina Chiwangu, the UN Women Country Women Representative in Uganda, the summits present a valuable opportunity for Uganda to enhance international cooperation and trade in order to promote gender equality and empower women, majority of whom are in the agriculture sector.
As part of the strategy to maximize the benefits of the summits, she said in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), they have organized a sideline event called the Source of the Nile Women in Agribusiness Expo and Investment Summit at Serena Kigo, to capitalize on diverse opportunities and unlock investments, across various agribusiness value chains.
The event is to run from January 14th-16th, 2024.
The objective of the event is to draw the attention of both local and global participants, fostering prospects for cooperation and alliances.
Chiwangu noted that the event will provide a platform for 50 women involved in various agribusiness value chains to engage in investment pitching sessions with private sector investors, local companies from the banking, telecom, and other sectors, as well as multilateral partners and policy makers.
“The aim is to explore ways to mitigate risks associated with agribusiness, such as expensive credit, adverse weather conditions, overreliance on sunlight for post-harvest protection, exploitation by intermediaries, the labor-intensive nature of manual land cultivation, and access domestic, regional, and international markets,” she noted.
She was addressing the media at the Uganda Media Centre in Nakasero, Kampala on January 10, 2024.
Chiwagu stated that the primary objective of the agribusiness export and investments summit is to foster collaborations for subsequent investments in catalytic capital to support women’s involvement in value addition and agro-processing endeavors. Additionally, the summit aims to promote digital solutions that enhance the economic independence of women farmers, facilitate their inclusion in agricultural supply chains through memberships, and provide business advisory services to young women.
She highlighted that the event aims to promote the distinctive contribution of women in the tourism industry. According to the provided information, it was observed that six out of 10 women in Uganda are engaged in the agricultural sector, with nine out of 10 being involved in farming rather than value addition tasks such as processing.
She said this emphasizes the importance of addressing the gender disparity within the sector.
Anna Rose Ademun Okurut, the Commissioner of Animal Health in MAAIF, highlighted the crucial factors that drive and support the advancement of women entrepreneurs including the expansion of accessible markets and the provision of suitable technologies and innovations.
She emphasized the necessity for decisive measures at both the policy and investment levels during NAM and G77 summits in order to ensure that the endeavors in agribusiness result in a significant and extensive number of women emerging as successful and sustainable entrepreneurs.
She mentioned that the agribusiness expo and summit have the potential to make a substantial contribution towards closing this divide, as they are given the opportunity to showcase their potential in various value chains.
Okurut noted that women in agribusiness expo and investment summit also answers to the call by President Yoweri Museveni and the incoming chair of the NAM and G77+China summit.
“Agro-Industrialisation (AGI) has the potential to promote inclusive, resilient and equitable growth, employment for women and youth as well as boosting manufacturing to reduce trade deficits, if we get well prepared to maximize the available opportunities,” she added.