SMEs tipped on value addition, use of modern management practices

Business

Micro and Small Enterprises (SMEs) have been urged to embrace value addition to their agricultural products and use formal and modern management practices if they are to grow into larger and more profitable enterprises.

The call was made at the closure of the Agric development programme held at Uganda Research Institute (URI) that aimed at empowering all SMEs in value addition and financial literacy.

The training was organized by Federation of Small Medium Sized Enterprises in Uganda (FSME) in partnership with Post Bank Uganda to carry out capacity building in some of the selected areas.

The focus of the training was on certain value chains such as grains, dairy, honey and fresh fruits and vegetables. SMEs that completed their training at the Institute were awarded with the certificates.

Experts explained that some of the constraints hindering the commercialization of agriculture by SMEs and general development of the agricultural value chains include low levels of value addition, poor seed quality, low produce and lack of market access.

According to Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), agriculture is the most important sector of the economy. The sector employs more than one-third of the work force along the value chain and there are still other opportunities of making some money.

Speaking during the event, the State Minister of Finance for Investment and Privatization, Evelyn Anite said we are in an era and time when women should step up and come to the forefront economically.

She said such training empowers women to rise from being small medium to large enterprise owners.

Anite encouraged the participants to use their money to grow their businesses and promised that the government will support them to ensure that their businesses grow.

Julius Kakeeto, the managing director at Post Bank said that SMEs are a very big contributor to the country’s economy which is why it is important to move lockstep with them.

"SMEs are critical to the growth of Uganda's economy. Therefore, we chose to invest in their sustainability and growth. As part of our corporate social responsibility, we decided to provide training and it is around value addition,“ he said.

He promised to provide these SMEs with subsidized banking to make sure the financial literacy doesn’t go to waste.

John Walugembe, the executive director at the Federation of Small Medium Sized Enterprises in Uganda said this year alone they have trained over 500 SMEs across different parts of the country.

"I believe many of these SMEs have been impacted by this training. We have tried to give them 360 training sessions that can support their businesses. We think that the future of our country is adding value to agricultural products because this is our strength, “he said.

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