Wednesday May 25 2016

Curad launches third round of national agribusiness challenge

Officials from Curad and partner organisations

Officials from Curad and partner organisations with some of the youth that underwent the incubation programme at a previous occasion. Over the years of operation, tens of enterprises and more than 1,000 jobs have been created. FILE PHOTO 

By Brian Ssenoga

It is often said successful enterprises are mostly a result of a passionate, driven and committed entrepreneur who identifies, creates and exploits opportunities to bring an idea to realisation.

Hence entreprenuership becomes the product of innovation to spur employment creation and sustained economic growth.
And in the agribusiness field, the Consortium for enhancing University Responsiveness to Agribusiness Development (Curad) seems to have curved a niche incubating start ups, innovations and entrepreneurs.

“The idea is to create public awareness about agribusiness incubation so through a challenge we identify young people who want to do business in any agricultural value chain,” says Apollo Segawa, the executive director, Curad.
“We support their idea through a series of trainings until when it is a fully fledged enterprise.”

It focuses on promotion of value added products, small and medium enterprises, business development support across entire coffee value chain, and facilitating agribusiness enterprises and the Earn While You Learn programme for the university students.

It was against this background that from 16-20 May, a youth camp on agribusiness incubation was held in Namugongo near Kampala. The weeklong activities included a high-level agribusiness incubation forum

It was supported by Asareca in conjunction with Curad, the Sorghum Value Chain Development Consortium (SVCDC), and Afribanana Products (ABP).

The camp was attended by “youth in agribusiness who are associated with Curad, Afribanana and SVDC as either previous, current or potential incubatees.” While the forum was attended by representatives of the three incubators, AAIN, Asareca, government officials from Uganda and Kenya, heads of institutions involved in agribusiness development, partners such as AgriProFocus among others, and other relevant stakeholders.
Also, as the climax, Curad’s 2016 national agribusiness innovation challenge was launched.
This time round, there were 10 categories as opposed to the nine in the previous two challenges.

Over the last three years, through incubation 70 enterprises have been created with an estimated 1,900 jobs directly.
In 2015, there were 146 applications out of which 45 reached the shortlist. The top three performers in each category have been successfully incubated.

The overall 2015 challenge winner James Musule of Namayumba CFA was awarded Shs12m and went on to win $5,000 as the best runners up at the Africa Agribusiness Incubation Network (AAIN) competition in Nairobi, Kenya. He deals in coffee nursery production.

“The competition is open to all youth with a focus in agribusiness. What we have achieved confirms that given the required support, agriculture, more than any other sectors can be relied on in Uganda’s quest for development,” Segawa points out.