Kampala, Uganda | Julius Businge | Ugandans in the diaspora have mega opportunities to exploit in the agriculture value chain for Uganda using their periodical earnings, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation Country Representative for Uganda Dr. Antonio Querido.
He was speaking to The Independent during the Uganda Diaspora Agribusiness Investment Day E-conference and Award 2020 on Nov.21 in Kampala.
Querido said, the event was meant to mobilise Ugandans in the diaspora to see how they can exploit investment opportunities within the agricultural value chain.
He said, this engagement is part of a project they are doing on migration together with Uganda’s ministry of foreign affairs, that of agriculture plus a local partner, Uganda Agribusiness Alliance (UAA).
Under this project, the FAO representative said, they would feed Ugandans in diaspora with information they need regarding the sector to inform their investment decisions.
At the same event, several businesses were recognized for demonstrating their success stories in the value chain.
He said, there are more than 12 commodities/areas including coffee, rice, honey, dairy, bananas, fisheries, grains, cereals, fruits that have value addition opportunities.
There are other reasons why this group of investors would succeed. “The diaspora maintains strong ties with their families,” Querido said, adding: “They can continue to grow their wealth and also give back to the country and contribute to development.”
He added that they would also help this category of Uganda investors to deal with challenges of market access, access to credit, skills development and more.
Agriculture in Uganda employs anywhere between 70-80% of the total population. The sector contributes approx.25% to the country’s GDP.
It is estimated that over 1.5 million Ugandans live in the diaspora engaging in different types of work that earns them a living.
Edward Katende, the chief executive officer for Uganda Agribusiness Alliance said, by engaging Ugandans in the diaspora to invest in the agriculture value chain, it would result in opportunities such as new jobs, technology transfer and more taxes being paid to government.
This particular project is among the many that the UAA is working on with FAO.
Katende is optimistic about the success of this project given his historical connections with people in the diaspora having worked there before. He is among the founders of Uganda – UK Convention.
The e-conference was held at a time leaders of world economies were implementing strategies for recovering from the negative effects of COVID-19.
The World Bank, in April this year, warned in its Migration and Development Brief 32, that global remittances are projected to decline by about 20% in 2020 due to the economic crisis caused by coronavirus.
It said, remittances to low and middle-income countries are projected to fall from about $550billion in 2019 to $445billion in 2020.