The Minister of State for Agriculture, Fred Kyakulaga, has urged farmers to take advantage of the brewery market’s opportunities and boost their production of barley, sorghum, and corn. He delivered this advice during the second Farmers’ Symposium, which was organized by Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) and took place in Kampala, Uganda.
Kyakulaga emphasized the importance of seizing the opportunity offered by UBL, encouraging both small and large landholding farmers to maximize their production. He highlighted the significant role played by companies like UBL that enhance the value of agricultural products, thereby assisting the government in addressing the persistent issue of market access affecting farmers across the country.
At the symposium, UBL unveiled its intention to expand the number of farmers supplying them with raw materials through the “Farm for Success” program. Their plan involves increasing the number of participating farmers from 35,000 to 50,000. With this initiative, UBL aims to source up to 100% of its raw materials from Ugandan farmers by 2030, which is expected to generate increased demand for various agricultural products. Specifically, the demand for barley is projected to rise from 8,000 to 13,000 tonnes, sorghum from 15,000 to 25,000 tonnes, and maize from 18,000 to 20,000 tonnes.
Over the years, UBL’s payments to farmers who supply raw materials have gradually risen due to the government’s introduction of excise concessions for locally sourced raw materials. These payments escalated from 14 billion shillings in 2011 to the current 52 billion shillings, as recorded last year. The Farm for Success program is anticipated to further boost these payments, reaching over 80 billion shillings within the next five years.
Andrew Kilonzo, the Managing Director of UBL, disclosed that the Farm for Success program aims to involve more women and persons with disabilities (PWDs) as suppliers, with the objective of having up to 60% of their suppliers coming from these two categories.
One farmer, Francis Nyeko, from Agoro in northern Uganda, has been supplying UBL since 2011. He expressed his gratitude for the support provided by UBL, stating that the company not only offers a stable and sustainable market but also provides fixed prices for their produce, bringing stability and prosperity to these farmers.
Nyeko noted that the program has significantly impacted the livelihoods of farmers in his village, ensuring a reliable market with fixed prices for their products. The increase in demand has challenged them to enhance their farming activities.
Additionally, Nyeko acknowledged the government’s role in supporting farmers through extension services and research from the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO). He also raised awareness of the challenges faced by farmers, including high-interest rates on loans and the adverse effects of climate change on their seasonal farming activities.