Fruit Farmers in Uganda have a chance to add value to their produces courtesy of a program Business Lab Uganda (BLU) that has been launched at the Design Hub Kampala this morning.
Business Lab Uganda (BLU), is an accelerator for existing Ugandan Agribusineses in which committed buyers and investors are involved from the start and play a role in the selection and support of candidates.
It is powered by The Netherlands Embassy, hosted by Design Hub Kampala and makes maximum use of proven initiatives.
According to Annelies Kannekens the Program Manager, two cohorts of selected candidates will receive a support package which is highly practical and focuses on preparing the candidates for a successful business deal in a sustainable manner.
“With the ultimate goal to grow the enterprises and connect them to local, regional and/or Dutch buyers and investors,” she said.
The 18 months program will see farmers putting their focus on adding value to Agri Fruits. One will be adding value to jack fruit and the other to dried fruits.
“Jack Fruit has three main focuses, one is building a distribution network in Uganda for collecting jack fruit for collective export, developing a brand for jackfruit product for the Ugandan market and developing and branding Ugandan jack fruit product for the international market.
“For the dried fruits, the focus must be on improving collaboration of Ugandan dried fruits producers and supply international market, dried fruit Jewellery where a high-end brand will be built for Ugandan dried fruit to a world-class standard, with no added sugar and giving value for money,” said Kannekens.
For the dried fruits, Kannekens added that the third focus will be developing an online platform that will match Ugandan dried fruit producers to the international market. The platform will be called Dried Fruit Digital.
Business Lab Uganda also focuses on scaling companies that are sustainable, add economic value and can provide a growing amount of decent jobs, including marginalized groups in the sourcing of candidates and prioritizes female entrepreneurs and inclusive companies.
It prioritizes the production of sustainable products with a strong social branding value that will promote sustainable economic growth.
BLU is hosted by Design Hub Kampala, a creative co-working space in Kampala. The 2000sqm renovated warehouse opened its doors to a collaborative work environment where different people (entrepreneurs, freelancers, designers, writers, product developers, marketing minds, tech startups, and makers) can feel comfortable working on their own projects, while having the possibility of sharing, engaging and in essence, creating together with others.
Jeff Odong of Afrohayat said BLU can make an impact since the demand is big from Europe, Japan, Middle East, Turkey and the USA.
“Individual producers can’t meet market demand and they have to team up. There is also a perception that African products are supposed to be cheap hence a need to create a high-end brand of high-quality Ugandan Dried Fruits,” said Odong.