9,408 youth are set to benefit from a partnership between Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), the country’s apex body for the private sector, and Agricyle Global, a social enterprise, over the next 5 years through strategic linkages to global agricultural markets in a project dubbed “Global Agricultural Market Linkage for Youth and Young Mothers” (Gamlym).
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that food losses in sub-Saharan Africa add up to $4 billion annually.
Food loss happens between harvest and the point of sale, with less waste by consumers after purchase. Leading causes of food loss in Africa include lack of cold chain facilities especially for perishables, poor storage facilities, and insufficient agro-processing skills amongst smallholder farming communities.
Speaking at the launch ceremony held at the Sanyuka Village Empowerment Center in Luweero, 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.
“Agricycle is here to buy all value-added products that come from the farm. We’re going to help you add value to everything that would have gone to waste whether it be mangoes, jackfruit, pineapple, cassava or carrots, herbs, or spices. We’re here to buy all those products because we have a large market in the United States. Agricycle closes the gap by providing technology at a price, the training, and the market access.”
The partnership, comes shortly before the World Food Day scheduled for October 16th, 2021 under the theme “Our actions are our future- Better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life,” is supported by the Mastercard Foundation to co-implement Young Africa Works– Enhancing Lead Firm Structure for Youth Employment in Uganda.
Agricycle Global has developed a 4-part strategy focusing on distributed networks, appropriate technologies, storytelling, and village empowerment centers where they will set up dehydrators and processing sites for turning food waste into valuable products which are then exported and sold to global markets.
In 2020, Agricycle connected at least 1,000 women and youths to its global markets, paying them a cumulative UGX 460 million and hopes to connect 10,000 more youths, women, and smallholder farmers into its network in 2025 and pay them not less than 2 billion UGX.
Apollo Mbazzira, PSFU Lead Firm Structure for Youth Employment in Uganda Project Lead, said, “There are numerous benefits to be reaped from this partnership. For instance, 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 Board, PSFU speaking as the Guest of Honor added that “Luweero is the revolutionary district where we are starting this value addition so that we have a complete value chain of producing pineapples, processing them, and selling them at a good price. Getting the youth, especially during this period where chapatti makers are confusing our girls, getting them into a program like this which gives them money, gives them confidence, gives them authority over their bodies, it is fantastic.”
PSFU as the anchor implementing partner through the Lead Firm Structure Project targets to create a total of 300,000 work opportunities in sectors of; agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, and hospitality, and construction & housing with 70% of the beneficiaries being young women.
The Global Agricultural Market Linkage for Youth and Young Mothers project will be implemented in 17 districts in all the four major regions of Uganda i.e. 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) mainly focusing on Jackfruit, Pineapple and sweet potatoes, Mangoes and Cassava, Jackfruit, Pineapple, Cassava, and sweet potatoes, Green matooke, Apple bananas, Vegetable production, Chia and Sesame.