Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) has underlined its crucial role in making Ugandan farmers profit immensely from farming initiatives through enhancements in agricultural output.
This is being realized through several value chain addition strategies undertaken by UBL, which have in turn enabled agriculturalists to reap big from farming activities, by making them more productive and profitable, hence improving household incomes, a crucial step in curbing poverty levels.
This impressive revelation was made by the UBL Managing Director Mr. Andrew Kilonzo, while addressing a cocktail of farmers and other stakeholders from different regions of Uganda at the symposium, which took place yesterday at Hotel African in Kampala.
“The use of Local Raw Materials is acknowledged to have a highly positive impact on the economy and it puts earnings directly into the pockets of more local farmers,” Mr. Kilonzo revealed.
“Research from Euromonitor puts the contribution of packaged drinks in the industry at only 35.5%, a significant portion of the industry 64.5% is unpacked and illicit. We seek support in enacting policies and laws that protect our industries against illicit and counterfeit product which costs government over UGX. 1.6 trillion annually in leaked taxes,” Mr. Kilonzo explained.
He added that farmers and manufacturers can also take advantage of a favorable and free operating environment, and to this effect, they will be able to realize a multiplication of benefits from their efforts.
The forum, which was held under the theme” Agriculture as the Enabler to the Buy Uganda Build Uganda Agenda” was attended by many stakeholders from government agencies, Tax body, Farmers Unions, and other important players from the private sector.
The symposium was also aimed at providing a favorable platform to discuss strategies and modalities of scaling up farming initiatives such that they work in tandem with government efforts to enable manufacturers embrace full local sourcing of raw materials to boost productivity, that would culminate into a strong indigenous industrial base.
It is important to note that the hosts-UBL obtains most of its raw materials from local sources, and estimates show that 95% of these are gotten locally. The forum was therefore intended to provide a discussion arena on how different entities can work in unison to support indigenous industries, by ensuring timely and adequate supply of raw materials.
Also present at the forum was Hon. Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), who doubled as the chief guest.
Hon. Tumwebaze revealed that he is working tirelessly to ensure tax cuts for alcoholic beverages, whose raw materials and other inputs are sourced locally, something that would boost agricultural activities and enhance a strong industrial base to global competitiveness.
He appreciated Uganda Breweries for doing a commendable job in forging an alliance with farmers, which has boosted close cooperation between the two, a significant step in enhancing agricultural output, vital for adequate feeding of local industries.
“I would like to recognize Uganda Breweries for the important work they are doing with their Local Raw Materials Program, which I have heard that so far benefits over 400,000 farming households and we encourage them to do even more as we all strive to promote excellence of our Ugandan products and produce here and abroad if we are to actualize the Buy Uganda, Build Uganda strategic imperative, ” said Hon. Tumwebaze.
He also underlined that the strategy undertaken by Uganda Breweries puts the private sector at the heart of aiding government to achieve its goals as stipulated in the National Development Plan 111, which is poised on creating value addition to strengthen the private sector capacity aimed at driving growth and creating jobs.
“The Uganda bureau of statistics estimates that Agriculture employs 70% of the population, contributes about 33% of Uganda’s export earnings and makes up 24% of our GDP. By harnessing the potential that a private sector led initiative to improve farming output and yield in the country, I am confident that we shall see an even bigger spike in the contribution of Agriculture to our GDP,” Hon. Tumwebaze added.
Uganda Breweries obtains most of its raw materials locally, through close coordination with over 25, 000 farmers throughout the country to purchase about 15,000 tonnes of sorghum, 1,000 tones of cassava, 8,000 tones of barley, with 30% of the unprocessed material from Northern Uganda.
Besides, 25% of its raw materials are sourced from Eastern parts of the country, 35% from the central, while the western region only contributes 10%.
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