Beer company, Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) and the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that seeks to promote research and development collaboration, linkages and partnership for purposes of advancing agricultural productivity under UBL’s local materials program.
Local raw materials is a UBL program that seeks to source 100% of the materials they use in their production processes local and has been developed in line with the second objective of the third National Development Plan (NDP III) meant to strengthen the private sector to create jobs and the overall theme of “Sustainable Industrialization for inclusive growth, employment and sustainable wealth creation.”
Speaking about the MOU, UBL Managing Director, Alvin Mbugua said it has come at the right time and will greatly benefit Ugandans.
“UBL is now making 96% of its brands locally. The brewery works with over 20,000 farmers, directly benefiting over 25,000 households countrywide and invests over 45 billion shillings in farming communities annually,” Mbugua said.
According to officials, the five-year partnership will engage NARO to provide agricultural research and development support to UBL through the former’s constituent public agricultural research institutes earmarked to provide opportunities for conducting laboratory and field research trials.
The deal will as well provide agricultural research and development technical support to boost the development of the beer company’s local raw material program.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Director-General of NARO Dr. Ambrose Agona said that in partnering with them, Uganda Breweries has contributed to their ten-year goal of innovating for sustainable agricultural transformation.
“We are happy to enter this partnership with Uganda Breweries Limited and pledge to work together to achieve mutual benefits that will go a long way in improving the livelihoods of farming communities who have long been the backbone of our nation,”Agona said.
According to UBL’s Mbugua, the beer company will utilize NARO-owned agricultural technologies in their local sourcing programs to boost productivity, improve household income and promote the Buy Uganda Build Uganda initiative at the agricultural sourcing level.
“Sourcing quality raw materials locally for our products connects us to the communities where we work, allowing us to strengthen local farming and change lives. It makes our supply chain more resilient and creates a healthy economic loop in national economies. We know that the long-term success of programs like ours rests on mutually respectful and supportive relationships with other organisations, government, NGOs, suppliers and farming co-operatives. This landmark partnership with NARO, therefore, seeks to deliver on our fundamental objectives of the local raw material program,”Mbugua said.
“Programs like this are a step in the right direction and that the company would continue to look closely at the context and impact of our activities, working thoughtfully to enhance people’s lives long term.”
According to the MOU, part of this engagement will seek to support scientists, post-doc students to jointly plan and execute research projects and training through UBL’s scholarship program that both parties find important in advancing research under UBL’s raw materials program.
The two entities will exchange information, technology, and practices that increase agricultural production and productivity, publish well-researched data and manuals for farmer training that will be used for skilling growers and improving knowledge among UBL’s farmers in best agronomic practices and Jointly develop effective sorghum, barley, and cassava seed production and distribution systems for enhancing sustainable access of smallholder farmers access to quality planting materials among other things.