Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) is set to significantly expand its “Farm for Success” program with the aim of achieving 100% local agricultural sourcing by 2030.
The company, which is committed to sourcing its agricultural materials, including Barley, Sorghum, and corn, from Ugandan farmers, unveiled this ambitious plan during its annual farmers’ symposium held in Kampala.
UBL’s journey towards local raw material sourcing began in 1987 with Barley farming and gained momentum in 2003 when the Ugandan government introduced excise concessions for beer made from locally sourced raw materials.
This incentive encouraged the use of local resources in alcohol production, and UBL invested significantly in the program, including a $21.3 million investment in Mash Filter technology in 2011.
The investment in locally sourced materials has led to substantial growth in payments to farmers. In 2011, UBL paid over Shs14 billion to farmers, which increased to Shs26 billion in 2017 and peaked at around Shs52 billion in 2022. The expansion of the Farm for Success program to encompass 50,000 farmers is expected to boost farmer payouts to over Shs80 billion within the next five years.
This year’s symposium centered around the theme of “Innovations in Agro technology, seed, and other Agro input.” Andrew Kilonzo, the Managing Director of UBL, emphasized the company’s commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion by involving more women and people with disabilities in the program.
The goal is to source over 60% of agricultural produce from women farmers and people with disabilities, thus supporting previously marginalized communities.
Kilonzo stated, “We do this not just to meet a quota, but to ensure that those who have not been part of this value chain are supported with the best farming practices, allowing them to supply us with the grains we need, earn a livelihood, become self-sufficient, and hopefully, pay it forward to other marginalized communities.” As part of this initiative, UBL plans targeted capacity training sessions with women’s groups across the country.
UBL’s Society 2030 program is focused on providing 100% of local sourcing communities with agricultural skills and resources, ultimately supporting 150,000 smallholder farmers.
The State Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries, Fred Bwino Kyakulaga, commended UBL’s Farm for Success program, highlighting its alignment with government objectives, as outlined in the National Development Plan III.
These objectives include agro-industrialization, promoting local manufacturing, and private sector development to create jobs for inclusive growth and sustainable wealth creation.
UBL has also formed strategic partnerships with government agencies, such as the National Agriculture Research Organisation and Operation Wealth Creation, to advance its goals. Agriculture plays a pivotal role in Uganda, employing 70% of the population, contributing nearly 30% of export earnings, and constituting about 24% of the GDP.
Currently, UBL collaborates with over 35,000 farmers from various regions, procuring significant quantities of Barley, Sorghum, Maize, and Cassava. These contributions come from different regions, with 30% from Northern Uganda, 25% from Eastern Uganda, 35% from Western Uganda, and 10% from the Central Region.
UBL’s “Farm for Success” program has the potential to not only strengthen the agricultural sector but also contribute to Uganda’s broader economic development goals. By supporting farmers, promoting inclusivity, and aligning with government objectives, the program can play a vital role in improving livelihoods and achieving sustainable, inclusive economic growth.
As the program expands and more smallholder farmers are included, it is likely to create additional jobs in agriculture and related sectors. This job creation can help address unemployment and underemployment issues, especially in rural areas where agriculture is a major source of livelihood.