This initiative has tremendous potential to reduce post-harvest losses, stimulate the private sector and increase household food security for hundreds of farmers, writes Rajab Mukombozi
Maize farmers in the districts of Ibanda, Kamwenge and Kyegegwa who have been struggling with unfair prices, after the launch of the construction of Shs20b grain facility in the region. This facility to be constructed in Ruharo, Mbarara District will handle, among others, storage value addition, quality and marketing.
It will have grain cleaners, driers, sorters, destoners, grain silos and milling.
During the launch for the construction attended by among others leaders from the three districts and key stakeholders in maize value chain, John Magany, the chairman board of directors of AgroWays said the project will be implemented in different phases.
Magany said the initial target will support 6,600 farmers to ensure quality production, fair and better prices as they will be linked directly to markets. “We already have market for this maize, there are also potential markets across borders, and famers will no longer struggle with prices,” said Magany.
He said the project targets, among others to see maize yield for participating farmers increase from the current 800 kilogrammes per acre to 1,600 kilogrammes per acre.
This facility is expected to handle more than 300,000 metric tonnes of maize every year in addition to creating hundreds of jobs for people who will build and operate the facility, the suppliers of materials, maize suppliers, transporters, and labour at household level.
Nile Breweries Limited (NBL) has pledged to buy the maize from farmers. Thomas Kamphuis, the NBL country director, believes the project will transform farmers. He confirmed that NBL has already aligned with them to ensure they offer a regular and stable market.
“We are soon coming up with a beer that is made of maize. Most of our raw materials are locally sourced so we are assuring you that the market will be there and we will give the necessary support,” said Kamphuis.
This initiative has tremendous potential to reduce post-harvest losses, stimulate the private sector and increase household food security for hundreds of farmers. The initiative is funded by Stanbic bank and aBi Trust.