Agribusiness SMEs to benefit investment platform

Monday August 03 2020

Dr John Jagwe, the Agra country manager

KAMPALA- Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) will benefit from the agribusiness Deal Room that seeks to bring together investors and other stakeholder.

The Deal Room, an initiative of the Alliance of a Green Revolution in Africa (Agra), seeks to provide entrepreneurs the possibility to ease financing access, mentorship, and market entry solutions.

It also seeks to create opportunities for government to present investment opportunities, promote incentives and engage with interested investors to discuss bottlenecks.

Pitch investment ideas

In an interview, Dr John Jagwe, the Agra country manager, said the Deal Room, which was launched recently, will allow Ugandans to pitch investment ideas with the aim of attracting investments.

Dr Jagwe also said, Agra is working with other agencies led by Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) and private sector agencies to identify and prepare those that need financing.
The Deal Room is part of an annual Africa Green Revolution Forum that will take place in September this year.
However, due to Covid-19, this year’s forum that will be hosted by the government of Rwanda will be a virtual event.
The participating agencies will include UIA, Uganda Development Corporation, Private Sector Foundation Uganda, Uganda Manufacture’s Association, and line ministries such as Ministry of Agriculture.
“We hope to make key priority investments,” Dr Jagwe said.


Current situation
According to experts in agriculture, there are many producer organisations looking for investors and the same to investors but there has not been a platform for such organisations to meet in one room with investors to present their requests for funding.

Mr Hans Muzoora, the country manager of the Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness (CASA), said this is due to lack of proper investments models among SMEs that attract investors.

“Investors are very few, but also lack the appetite due to perceptions that agriculture is risky, so we are working with agri businesses, to come up with investment ready business models that can attract investors,” Mr Muzoora said.

An agribusiness model that will attract investors include number of small holder farmers one is working with, level of investment, expected incomes, expected output, proper records, sustainability plan which most SMEs lack.

“Once business models are ready, these will then be presented to investors in deal room for their consideration. To us this platform is great, we will be able to get to know investors out there, get to understand what they want to see also introduce to them our agribusinesses looking for finance and related support,” he added.

Other agribusiness that stand a chance to meet investors include those into value chains that are of interest to Uganda like for food security, should be clear of their financial needs, level of investment among others.