Agricultural Business Initiative Development Limited (aBi), marked 10 years of existence and unveiled a new 5-year business plan at a colorful stakeholder forum held at the Kampala Serena Hotel.
aBi is a multi-donor company dedicated to building a competitive, profitable and sustainable agriculture and agri-food sector in support of equitable wealth creation in Uganda.
According to Sarah Walusimbi, president of aBi, in the period 2014-18 alone, aBi Development implemented around 130 matching grant projects with a total estimated value of US $ 345 billion to reach over 600,000. farmers and contributed to increased employment, household income and agro-industry.
“Moving forward, aBi will support the introduction of new Fin-Tech compatible methods to expand and deepen financial services in rural areas to foster financial inclusion,” Walusimbi said.
She said that aBi Development, which has transformed from ABi Trust, through its finance division, is now able to help a wide range of financial institutions (FIs) reach and respond to needs of agricultural businesses, ranging from additional income-generating businesses to medium-sized businesses. medium-sized industries.
Walusimbi observed that the intended outcome for the new strategy is to apply more innovative financing models to strengthen the agro-industrial capacity of farmer organizations (POs) given that the old strategy of working with POs and NGOs in order to serve the lower value and the least commercially developed chain actors have failed to transform POs into competitive actors in market systems.
Explaining the transition of aBi, Joséphine Mukumbya, Managing Director, said that as part of the 10-year journey, 2019 saw changes in the governance of aBi aimed at making it stronger, more efficient in its decision-making. and more durable.
“In September, aBi Trust completed its transition to a new vehicle called aBi Development Ltd, a company limited by guarantee leading to the voluntary liquidation of the trust.
“It also spawned a new 2019/23 business plan that is currently being implemented with the support of our development partners and our implementation partners,” Mukumbya said.
Since its inception in 2010, aBi has channeled development finance in the form of matching grants and business development services to agricultural and agro-industrial producers to improve their management, production, productivity, added value, income, their profitability and employment.
Ugandan Minister of State for Planning David Bahati, who represented Matia Kasaija, Minister of Finance, congratulated aBi and all the development partners who have supported aBi since its inception and the agricultural sector in general, namely; Governments of Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium, United States, Germany, United Kingdom and European Union.
“Your support for the operationalization of the existing development cooperation agreement has supported the implementation of Uganda’s National Development Plans (NDPs) and Vision 2040.
“Moreover, by aligning your development support with national development priorities, you are helping to transform Uganda from a peasantry into a modern and prosperous country,” Bahati said.
Bahati added, “The government finances value chains mainly through interventions within the Ministry of Agriculture and other relevant ministries, Operation Wealth Creation, NAADS and the Credit Facility. Agriculture (ACF) hosted by the Bank of Uganda.
“As part of the ACF, its adoption by government and partners has steadily increased and this is reflected in the portfolio of disbursed loans amounting to UGX 331 billion, extended to 525 projects across the country, in March 2019. “
Bahati said there is a need to increase access to credit in the sector through a multi-pronged approach focusing on all financial institutions, but with particular emphasis on lower tier financial institutions as they operate close to the actors of the agricultural value chain most limited by a limited institutional capacity. and financial resources.
During the forum, which coincided with the 10th anniversary of the aBi, Dr Richard Pelrine, agricultural expert and team leader of the agricultural finance project of GIZ, Nigeria, gave the keynote address under the theme; Financing agricultural value chains: balancing strong commercial viability with clear development goals for agribusiness.
Agriculture remains the main source of income in Uganda. According to the Uganda National Household Survey (UNHS) 2016/17, the largest proportion of the labor force is engaged in agriculture, forestry and fishing (65%). Among the women of the working population, 70% are engaged in agriculture against 58% of men.