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In 2017, my father almost gave up on his vegetable farm because he could not find market for all that he grew. “I considered throwing away all that I grew because I could not even store it.” he explained. In Uganda, like many Sub Sahara African countries, smallholder farmers struggle to earn revenue due to lack of access to market and inadequate postharvest management, which means good quality excess produce frequently goes to waste. This sparked my desire to look for ways to solve this challenge.
Earlier this year, I set out by enrolling in an incubator program on agribusiness run by Imagine Her, a Ugandan NGO that provides entrepreneurship and employment skills to women and youth. While there, I worked with peers to research and better understand issues in postharvest management.
In June 2021, I attended my first event, the Agribusiness Think Tank Webinar, by the AL for Agribusiness Network where I listened to two accomplished Agriprenuers, Mbali Nwoko and Vera Osei-Bonsu, share wisdom on building resilience and using challenges as fuel for growth. It was immediately clear to me that this community is the support system I needed to grow as an entrepreneur. Through the monthly newsletters and member hangout sessions, I have been inspired to engage more in meaningful dialogues on the role of youth in the agricultural sector.
Additionally, as a participant of the Agribusiness Launchpad Program, I have gained tools and techniques on understanding customer needs and building a strong value proposition. The program also gave me a deeper understanding on how to successfully pitch my business to customers and investors.
Now, I am well on my way to building my business venture called Kasana Foods, thanks to seed capital from the Agribusiness Launchpad Pitching Competition awarded by the Small Foundation in association with AL for Agribusiness network.
About my business venture:
Kasana Foods is an agro-processing enterprise based in Uganda, specializing in producing healthy food products such as dried fruit and ready-to-cook vegetable spices using ingredients sourced from smallholder farmers. The goal of Kasana Foods is to enable farmers sell 100% of their harvests, combat food waste and provide healthy delicious food products that consumers enjoy.
The prize money will enable us acquire dehydrators which will help us order produce from at least three farmers. This will help create better incomes for these farmers, and help Kasana Foods establish an active customer base in Uganda.
I am incredibly proud to be part of the AL for Agribusiness network and grateful to all the mentors and advisors who graciously gave their time and expertise. I cannot wait to share what is next.
Faridah Nalunkuuma is a farmer and entrepreneur based in Uganda, fueled by passion about creating sustainable economic independence for women and girls through business innovation. Previously, she co-founded and managed UZURI Health and Beauty— a healthcare startup that works to improve health outcomes in Uganda through beauty services (salons). She is a member of African Leadership Academy’s graduating class of 2013, graduated a Mastercard Foundation scholar with a degree in Business Management from Agnes Scott College, Georgia USA.