Johnson Abitekaniza, the Acting Commissioner of SMEs and Business Development in the Ministry of Trade, has advised youth not to limit their perception of cereal agriculture to just land ownership and he emphasized the potential for innovation in value addition, supply chain management, and transportation within the cereal industry.
According to Abitekaniza, it’s essential for young people to diversify their knowledge by understanding marketing strategies, developing quality products, and expanding the value chain through cooperative efforts.
“In the realm of business, strategic planning is key. By employing sound agronomic practices, cereal farmers can anticipate better profits,” he emphasized.
These insights were shared at the Cereal Cottage Symposium held at Gudie Leisure Farm on Monday, aimed at enlightening industrial players and investors about developments in the cereals value chain.
Abitekaniza further urged youth to collaborate, build robust networks, and ensure compliance with regulations, highlighting the importance of formalization for accessing markets, particularly institutions like schools that rely on maize products.
“Institutions like schools who use posho from maize will not give you business unless you are registered and formalized very well, they can’t be sure that you will comply in terms of quality and quantity supply, we advise youth to ensure that they formalize to be able to participate in various trade and available markets,” he explained.
Prof. Gudula Naiga Basaza, the managing director of Gudie Leisure Farm, stressed the need for all stakeholders in the cereal value chain to continually learn and explore ways to maximize returns from cereal production.
“We’ve observed that maize productivity remains low in many regions according to our studies, some regions produce less than 2 tones and those that are excelling produce not more than 3.5 tones in an hectare which is still a low production, this indicates a need for strategies to boost productivity,” Prof. Gudula asserted.
Addressing concerns about price fluctuations, Prof. Gudula called for government intervention to stabilize prices, ensuring the sustainability of maize-related businesses.
Frank Kagoda, a research officer from the National Research Organization (NARO), attributed the underdevelopment of millet to inadequate funding for research, resulting in the loss of valuable varieties.
He however noted some progress in millet research but highlighted challenges in extension services.
Mutebo Isaac, a cereal farmer in Namisindwa district, underscored the need for better understanding of maize farming dynamics among farmers to enhance the crop’s value.
Masiko Ibrahim, a maize breeder from Lwengo district, raised concerns about certain government policies hindering maize business and urged entities like URSB to engage farmers more effectively.
Established in 2009, Gudie Leisure Farm has been instrumental in empowering MSEs to produce high-quality products competitively. With a network of over 145,000 youth agripreneur champions across Uganda, the farm aims to drive sustainable growth in the agriculture sector.