More than 9,400 young women and men are set to benefit from a new partnership between Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), the apex body for the private sector, and Agricyle Global, a social enterprise.
This Ugx 6 billion partnership includes a five-year project, “Global Agricultural Market Linkage for Youth and Young Mothers” (Gamlym) that will build new local markets for at least two local youth-led companies through distribution support.
The project will also connect at least eight youth-led companies to global markets through high-level strategic partnerships.
The partnership is in collaboration with the Mastercard Foundation, as part of its Young Africa Works–Enhancing Lead Firm Structure for Youth Employment in Uganda initiative.
In his remarks, Samuel Yalew Adela, Country Head at the Mastercard Foundation Uganda said, “The Mastercard Foundation continues to double down on our commitment to enabling dignified and fulfilling work through our partnership with PSFU. We are excited to see the partnership evolve to include Agricycle Global and a double bottom line: creating new opportunities for young people while protecting our planet.”
Speaking at the launch ceremony held at the Agricycle Global offices in Luweero on Tuesday 12 October 2021, Josh Sheffner, CEO and Founder of Agricycle Global, said the partnership will contribute to the elimination of food waste while empowering women and youth across the country to secure dignified and fulfilling work.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that food losses in sub-Saharan Africa amount to $4 billion annually. The majority of food loss happens between harvest and the point of sale, with less waste by consumers after purchase. The leading causes of food loss in Africa include lack of cold chain facilities, especially for perishable food items, poor storage facilities, and insufficient agro-processing skills among smallholder farming communities.
“We have developed a four-pronged strategy focusing on distributed networks, appropriate technologies, storytelling, and village empowerment centres, where we will set up our dehydrators and processing sites for turning food waste into valuable products, which will then be exported and sold to global markets. Agricycle has already mobilized a 40,000-sized network of farmers across East Africa. About 1,000 of these are already in Uganda. Agricycle currently supplies to North America, Europe, and Asia, and has partnerships with over 10 county governments,” Josh Sheffner added.
Gamlym will be implemented in 17 districts in all the four major regions of Uganda, North (Kitgum, Lamwo, Pader, and Oyam), Central (Luwero, Kayunga, Kamuli, Nakaseke Mpigi), East (Jinja, Soroti, Serere, Ngora, and Amuria), and West (Ntungamo, Rwampara, and Bushenyi). The primary focus will be on the following produce: jackfruit, pineapples, sweet potatoes, mangoes, cassava, green matooke, apples, bananas as well as vegetables, chia, and sesame.
In 2020, Agricycle connected at least 1,000 women and youth to its global markets, resulting in a cumulative income of UGX 460 million and hopes to connect 10,000 more youth, women, and smallholder farmers into its network in 2022 with earnings no less than 2 billion UGX.
Representing the Executive Director at the launch, Apollo Muyanja, Project Director at PSFU said, “Through this partnership, there are numerous benefits to be gained such as youth enterprises will have new and high revenue streams, youth owned companies will get international exposure and recognition and they will also get affordable financing to invest in their businesses.”
Hon. Victoria Sekitoleko, Vice Chairperson of the PSFU Board, added that, “According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries National Strategy for Youth Employment in Agriculture, the agricultural sector employs about 65% of the working population, of which 63% are youth. However, over 92% of the youth in employment are poor and they represent some of the biggest cohorts when it comes to extreme poverty. This partnership is therefore a welcome venture that will contribute to reshaping this reality and I urge other private organisations to take on similar initiatives to support the youth and inevitably, the growth of the economy.”
The partnership is launching in advance of World Food Day on October 16th 2021 under the theme “Our actions are our future – better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life”.
PSFU is the anchor implementing partner of the Young Africa Works strategy in Uganda, and through the Lead Firm Structure Project aims to create a total of 300,000 work opportunities. The targeted sectors are agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and hospitality, and construction & housing with 70% of the participants being young women. To date, the project has generated up to 155,557 potential work opportunities through 22 Lead Firms.