UGANDA – Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) has unveiled plans to expand its “Farm for Success” program, previously known as the Local Raw Material program, with the goal of supporting 50,000 farmers by 2030.

The program aims to sustainably source 100% of the agricultural materials required for UBL’s various brands, such as Barley, Sorghum, and corn, from Ugandan farmers.

The announcement came during the annual Farmers Symposium organized by Uganda Breweries, providing a platform for mutual understanding, collaboration, policy alignment, problem-solving, and economic development among stakeholders in the agriculture value chain.

The Local Raw Material program began in 1987 with Barley farming but gained momentum in 2003 when the Government of Uganda introduced excise concessions for beer produced from locally sourced raw materials.

This initiative allowed UBL to invest in facilities that could accommodate increased local raw materials, including a US$21.3 million Mash Filter investment in 2011.

Payments to farmers supplying raw materials reached over UGX 52 billion in 2022, up from UGX 26 billion in 2017. The expansion of the program to 50,000 farmers is expected to increase farmer payouts to over UGX 80 billion within the next five years.

Andrew Kilonzo, the Managing Director of UBL, emphasized the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion by aiming to involve more women and people with disabilities in the program.

“UBL’s objective is to source over 60% of agricultural produce from women farmers and individuals with disabilities, supporting their participation in the value chain and livelihood improvement,” he said.

Under UBL’s Society 2030 program, the company aspires to equip 100% of local sourcing communities with agricultural skills and resources, promoting economic and environmental resilience while supporting 150,000 smallholder farmers.

The State Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries, Fred Bwino Kyakulaga, expressed his support for programs like “Farm for Success,” aligning with government objectives in the National Development Plan (NDP) III.

These objectives encompass agro-industrialization, local manufacturing promotion, and private sector strengthening for inclusive growth and job creation.

The “Farm for Success” program has also fostered strategic partnerships with government agencies such as the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) and Operation Wealth Creation (OWC).

The partnerships aim to enhance research, improve seed quality, control diseases, and bolster soil quality, contributing to increased agricultural productivity.

Agriculture plays a vital role in Uganda’s economy, employing approximately 70% of the population, generating about 33% of export earnings, and constituting around 24% of the country’s GDP.

Fred encouraged farmers to seize the opportunity presented by UBL’s program and increase production of Barley, Sorghum, and corn.

He recognized the critical role that value-adding companies like UBL play in addressing the challenge of market access for farmers in Uganda.

The “Farm for Success” program’s expansion is expected to create more demand for various agricultural products, including Barley, Sorghum, and maize.

UBL, in collaboration with the government, is working to address challenges faced by farmers, including high-interest rates on loans and the impacts of climate change on seasonal farming activities.