An agribusiness says government should consider prioritizing support towards building strong agribusiness incubation centres.
By Vision Reporter
An expert in agribusiness enterprise development says that government should consider prioritizing support towards building strong agribusiness incubation centres as well as boost value chain development initiatives.
Joseph Nkandu believes that such initiatives can increase productivity and also enable the sector to offer more employment opportunities.
He is the founding managing director of the Consortium for enhancing University of Responsiveness to Agribusiness Development (CURAD).
His comments came on the sidelines of a recent fact-finding tour mounted by CURAD Agribusiness Incubator executives to ascertain the level of progress made by the entrepreneurs the facility supports.
The agribusiness expert told a media conference that support towards agribusiness incubation will make agriculture more profitable and attractive to the youth towards taking varied responsibilities along different nodes of the agriculture value chains.
Agribusiness incubation is meant for supporting innovative ideas into practical business realities. This process, according to Nkandu, is too expensive for young individual private entrepreneurs.
“Incubation needs heavy investments in supportive infrastructure like agro-processing technology coming in form of machinery so that young entrepreneurs can be nurtured using such technology to develop skills in competitive value addition and marketing before letting them ‘fly’ on their own,” he said.
“We have witnessed that some of beneficiaries [incubates] under CURAD have products so competitive that they can’t even satisfy the available demand – this is the typical success on which government should ride to promote incubation across the country.”
Apollo Segawa, CURAD managing director, said the facility has for the last four years boosted performance of over 200 incubatees whose small agribusiness ventures have had a trickle-down effect through offering job opportunities to people.
He said CURAD is set to double the number of incubatees on board when it starts the operationalization of the sh350m modern agro-processing facility being set on the land offered by government through a partnership with the Uganda Investment Authority at the Kampala Industrial Development Park Namanve.
Hosted by Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo, CURAD is a partnership formed by the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO), the National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises and Makerere University.
Its aim is to impart practical agricultural production skills to students, graduates, academia as well as the general public, encouraging agricultural value chains development that runs from modern agronomy to marketing of finished agricultural products.
While working at the centre, some incubatees get both financial and technology support to turn their agribusiness innovations and ideas into tangible and profitable commercial ventures.
Tissue culture propagation, coffee roasting, mushroom production, coffee liquor and fruit juice making are some of the successful innovations that students have derived and delivered into practical reality at the CURAD Incubation Centre.
During the tour, executives noted that a number of Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) owners have become more efficient in marketing and improved on the quality of their agriculture products through value addition.
Expert says gov’t should prioritize agribusiness incubation