Decent Rural Employment

Diaspora agripreneurs awarded at the Ugandan Diaspora Agri-food Conference


FAO and the Government of Uganda partner to promote diaspora investments in agriculture

The Ugandan Diaspora Agri-food Investment Conference held by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and FAO took place online and in Kampala on 12 November 2020.

The conference brought together around 200 participants from Ugandan diaspora agripreneurs and networks, youth agripreneurs, government institutions and private sector. It provided an opportunity for diaspora agripreneurs to discuss challenges of investing in agribusiness, present their businesses, as well as connect with Ugandan youth agripreneuers who pitched their projects to an audience of diaspora investors.

“The event is in line with the Diaspora Department’s core objective to mobilize Ugandan Diaspora for National Growth and Development. We are working to encourage our Diaspora to bring back home the right skills, technology and financing that will promote investment and facilitate rapid growth and development” said Dickson Ogwang, Diaspora Department Head.

Despite the increasing recognition of diaspora as agents of development, barriers to diaspora’s investments in agribusiness remain, such as difficulties in accessing credit, ensuring quality standards of inputs and monitoring operations from a distance. Creating an enabling environment for diaspora to engage in the development of their country of origin is key to maximizing the development impact of their activities.

At the end of the event, an award ceremony was held to recognize and celebrate successful Ugandan diaspora agripreneurs who contribute to employment creation in rural areas of Uganda. Three Ugandans, selected through a call for proposals, were awarded as the best agribusiness investors of 2020.

In the closing remarks, FAO, MAAIF and MoFA confirmed their support to diaspora-led agri-businesses and will also continue joining efforts to match diaspora investors with Ugandan youth agripreneurs.

Let’s meet the diaspora winners

Sarah Kiyingi Kaweesa, CEO of Bio Jigsaw Limited, was awarded as the best agribusiness investor of the year for the innovativeness behind her business. Sarah, based in UK, produces with her company organic products made from banana fibre, contributing to waste reduction and employment creation for banana farmers and women employed in the hair salon business.

Lydia Nakayenze Schubert, Director of OncaPlanta (U) Ltd, was ranked second place winner. Lydia, based in Germany, has significantly contributed to job creation in Otuke district through the acquisition of land for a medicinal tree farm and the construction of a factory that processes shea butter. In addition, she has played a key role as transnational development agent by supporting Ugandan Investment Authority (UIA) participation at the German small and medium-scale enterprise conference in Lepipzig and leading two buyer visits to Ugandan companies.

Third place went to Andrew Bamugye, director of Destiny Farms Limited, apoultry farm located in Buloba. Andrew, based in Zimbabwe, leveraged poultry business models learned abroad to start Destiny Farms. Besides having generated employment opportunities for young people, Andrew’s team provides technical support to other diaspora members in the area of poultry sectors and business models development.

The three winners and their employees in Uganda will benefit from tailored coaching, with the aim of refining their business ideas and strengthening their knowledge of business management.

Strengthening Capacity to Harness Positive Effects of Migration

The initiatives is implemented in the framwork of the FAO project “Strengthening Capacity to Harness Positive Effects of Migration that aims tostrengthen capacities at global, regional and country level to adopt and implement policies, strategies or corresponding programmes that promote sustainable alternatives to migration and enhance the positive impacts of migration for agriculture and rural development. In Uganda, the programme aims to foster income-generating opportunities by tapping the entrepreneurial potential of diaspora.

The event recording can be accessed here