Moses Kiptala is a barley farmer in Mengya Sub-county, Kapchorwa District who for over 10 years reaped almost nothing out of farming despite putting in a lot of efforts.
Realising that he didn’t get anything out of cattle keeping, Kiptala resorted to maize growing but this didn’t change anything.
“I could not sustain the family with maize growing. My children were in school but it was tough paying school fees,” he says.
Later, Kiptala ventured into Irish potato growing and because it had a high demand then, the crop became a gold mine for the family but the only challenge was that since it could only be planted twice a year, the family was struggling during off season.
However, in 2008, when Uganda Breweries Limited introduced the Local Raw Material program that seeks to source 100% of the materials they use in their production processes locally, Kiptala resorted to growing burley for supply to the beer company.
He has never looked back.
“Barley has transformed our lives incredibly.Two of my children have completed campus and the other two (one at Kyambogo University and the other at Makererere University) will be finishing soon. There other siblings are also studying in Kampala. I am so grateful that I have been able to give my children quality education through growing this crop,”Kiptala says.
This is the story of many other farmers for Cassava, sorghum and barley who have been supported by the beer company.
According to officials from UBL, a total of 32,000 farmers benefit annually from the program that has seen four million households in various parts of the country benefit.
“We provide seeds, technical advice, fertilisers and also link the farmers to financial institutions for financial services. We also buy the produce from farmers at competitive prices,” said Mark Ocitti , the former UBL Managing Director.
Early this year, UBL signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) to provide agricultural research and any other support to the beer company through NARO’s research institutes but also provide opportunities for conducting laboratory and field research trials to boost development and growth of UBL’s Local Raw Material (LRM) program.
“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,” outgoing Managing Director, Alvin Mbugua said.
According to the beer company, they will continue supporting farmers and extending outreach programs but also trainings and buying their produce at competitive prices through the Local Raw Materials program.