Agriculture remains the major source of livelihood in Uganda and Acholi region is no exception. According to the Uganda National Household Survey (UNHS) 2016/17, the bigger proportion of the working population is engaged in agriculture, forestry and fishing (65%). Among the females in the working population, 70% are engaged in agriculture compared to 58% of the males. But still, the sector is still backward due to a number of factors. For instance, an estimated 30% – 50% of the annual grain and fresh fruits and vegetables harvest (in terms of weight) is lost (FAO, 2019). The loss is even higher for products that are more sensitive to impact and compression, such as many varieties of fruit and vegetables. A loss of this magnitude affects producers directly by reducing the amount of food available for household consumption and amount available for sale to obtain household income. On the consumer side, such a loss reduces food supplies in the markets causing food prices to increase, consequently making food unaffordable. This explains the acceleration in inflation for example the recent hike for sixth straight month to 7.9% in July of 2022, from 6.8% in the previous month. 

Due to the complications in the supply chain caused by a number of factors on the farmer’s side and some being external, farmers are faced with challenges in supplying food to the different markets, reducing food loss on its way to the markets, reducing post-harvest loss, and providing healthy and nutritious food. 

In light of the above, eradicating poverty and food insecurity hinges on reducing food losses and waste. This will necessitate improving post-harvest handling practices which are the main drivers of food loss and waste management. Such losses can be significantly reduced by better transport infrastructure combined with additional investment in more efficient and less damaging transport facilities, modern (possibly chilled) storage facilities and modern markets organised on the basis of the appropriate logistics. The impact on food security is twofold: on the one hand the products on the target markets contribute directly to the food security of the people who buy them, while on the other the sale of these products provides their producers with an income that can then be invested in the family’s nutrition. 

 

To contribute towards sustainable agriculture, curb malnutrition, promote food security and improve farmers’ livelihoods in Acholi Sub-region, Caritas Switzerland is funding the Acholi Agri Business Innovation challenge and implemented by StartHub Africa to support already existing startups, groups, youths and entrepreneurs whose initiatives are already providing impactful solutions in food security, malnutrition, and agriculture production and those whose ideas will contribute towards the same cause. 

About the Caritas Agri Business Innovation Challenge: 

The program aims to contribute towards sustainable agriculture, curb malnutrition, promote food security and improve farmers’ livelihoods in Acholi Sub-region.  In addition, the challenge seeks to identify and support innovative business solutions contributing to a sustainable and inclusive food system in and around Northern Uganda. This will include two capacity building bootcamps culminating in a pitch event where the winners will compete for a grant pool of 40,000,000 Ugandan shillings and there after receive follow up mentorship for 5 months. 

Who is eligible to apply; 

  • Applicants who have an innovative agribusiness idea to be implemented within the Acholi Sub-region. 
  • Anyone with an already existing agribusiness solution being implemented in the Acholi Sub-region. 
  • Entrepreneurs with innovative solutions in thematic areas listed above (check website). 
  • Women entrepreneurs are especially encouraged to apply. 

 

About Caritas Switzerland 

Caritas Switzerland is a member of the international Caritas network. This consists of 165 organisations worldwide. In addition, the European Caritas organisations have joined together in Brussels to form Caritas Europe. Caritas helps people in need, regardless of their religious and political beliefs or their ethnicity. Because its presence reaches into the local communities, Caritas is able to react quickly in a disaster, providing the appropriate emergency relief. In many of its projects, Caritas Switzerland enters into funding partnerships with Caritas organisations from the international Caritas network. 

 

About StartHub Africa. 

StartHub Africa is a hybrid Social Enterprise that is building a university-based student movement, invests in and guides early-stage African startups, and runs high-quality innovation projects and consultancy all over East Africa. 

 

Deadline: 09th October 2022 

How to apply: Interested individuals or startups should visit www.agribusiness.starthubafrica.org/apply  

 

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