Empleo rural decente

FAO launches the first Uganda Diaspora in Agribusiness Network

20/06/2022

Migrants and diaspora communities represent a powerful force for the development of their countries of origin, both through remittances and the promotion of trade, investments, innovation and knowledge transfer. They contribute to their home countries’ economic growth, spurring economic diversification and job creation in key sectors of the economy, but their specific contributions to the agribusiness sector are less well known and their potential in this area remains under-tapped.

Very often, diaspora engagement in agriculture and rural development is limited due to a number of barriers such as poor working and living conditions, the remoteness of rural areas, lack of information on investment opportunities in agribusiness, limited multi-stakeholder coordination between migration and agricultural actors as well as limited partnership interaction between rural institutions and diaspora associations.  

In the specific case of Uganda, several diaspora networks exist across the world, but they rarely focus on agribusiness, and frequently, there is lack of diaspora-inclusive policy dialogue around investments and employment opportunities in agri-food systems.

In order to bridge this gap and maximize diaspora contributions to the agri-food systems transformation, FAO supported the launch and set up of the first Ugandan Diaspora in Agribusiness Network (UDAN).

The Network, legally registered as a company limited by guarantee, is an independent diaspora member-based agribusiness network that acts as a bridge between Ugandan diaspora and migration and rural stakeholders in Uganda. It is a platform that enables the diaspora to participate more meaningfully  in the development of the agricultural sector in Uganda. In particular, the network aims to: (i) better represent the voices of the diaspora in national decision-making processes around agri-food systems; (ii) promote Ugandan agribusiness opportunities abroad; (iii) facilitate diaspora financial and non-financial contributions to the agri-food sector of Uganda; and (iv) enhance the visibility of the key role played by the diaspora in the economic development of Uganda, particularly in agribusiness.

In order to ensure its sustainability and diaspora ownership, the network has been set up in close collaboration with a Ugandan diaspora organization, Poultry Farmers’ Empowerment Hub Ltd (PFEHL), whose director was ranked third place winner of the FAO Diaspora Award 2020.

The Ugandan Diaspora Agribusiness Network brings together around sixty Ugandan diaspora agripreneurs residing in nine countries of destination in Europe, Japan, and the USA. The members are identified and mobilized through focus group discussions, and the Network is comprised of country chapters/networks and a global chapter that collaborate with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Agriculture. One focal point per country has been identified in order to collaborate with the migration and rural stakeholders and keep the network active beyond the project.

The Network is currently involved in the FAO first Ugandan diaspora-youth agribusiness matching programme to facilitate the transfer of network members' skills and investmentsinto Ugandan youth-led agribusinesses. FAO has supported Ugandan youth to prepare their business pitches and mobilized diaspora agripreneurs and investors through Business-2-Business meetings and business forum.

FAO works in Uganda through the FMM-funded Programme Harnessing the Positive Effects of Migration with the aim of maximizing the positive effects of migration for agricultural and rural development. In particular, FAO collaborates with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Diaspora Department and the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries to strengthen the enabling environment for diaspora contributions, while also supporting and empowering diaspora agripreneurs and their organizations as agents of development. Bringing together public and private sector stakeholders, the programme has contributed to making the diaspora voice part of decision-making processes and enhancing visibility of diaspora contributions to agribusiness development through the organization of the first edition of the Ugandan Diaspora Agri-food Investment Conference and Award and the setup of UDAN. In addition, the project has contributed to empowering diaspora as agents of development through the provision of tailored coaching in agribusiness and the inclusion of their voices in the formulation of the National Diaspora Policy.