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Excelling in the world of agripreneurship

Defining one’s business can be a challenge particularly for young entrepreneurs. But the key points one should bear in mind are what and whom the business is centred on. In addition to that, the business idea must be complete, correct and generic to express what one produces in terms of meeting the need of one’s target market.

I am excited to be a participant of the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization for the United Nation (FAO) and Rikolto (VECO)‘s workshop with forty (40) young East African participants from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which took off on Monday 25th March 2019 in Mbale, Uganda. The aim of this workshop is to strengthen the capacities of youth farmers in sustainable agriculture, enhance rural and urban linkages and contribute to urban food systems.

Among the lessons, I have amassed in these couple of days is the knowledge that market segmentation and product positioning are the keys to the success of any business. These two go hand in hand in identifying one’s customers’ buying habit in responses to the time sessions. It is very important to ask oneself questions like, “How do I maximize revenue from the segmented market?” This considers whether the business entity would become a monopoly or use high-quality standards that competitors won't be able to meet.

The facilitator, Mr Paul Gitta of Uganda Fruits and Vegetables Exporters and Producers Association (UFVEPA) taught participants that a business that follows QQTC formula is in the best position to stand out into the competitive market because the Quality, Quantity, Time and Cost are what determines your business sustainability and prosperous.

To access the market is quite challenging but YPARD together with other private successful agricultural entrepreneurs present emphasised on the importance of researching on the business initiative; the courage to start small; and having knowledge about one’s products or services one is providing. Participants were encouraged to impact the community around them- especially women and youth and also leverage networks and partnership to advance their initiatives. Among the agripreneurs present were Joyce Kyalema, an entrepreneur in pumpkin processing; Rachael Amase, an entrepreneur in fresh chill export; Joel Cherop, an entrepreneur with one-acre model irrigation- and a young model farmer; as well as Victor Ojede, the regional manager at the Microfinance support centre LTD (MSC).

Speaking about the need for young agripreneurs to be innovative, Ms Caroline Kahamutima, of RIKOLTO (VECO) advised, “You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. The only innovation you need to do may be putting your own spin on a classic idea and start conducting business.”

With this much food for thought after the second day of the workshop, I believe I would redefine my business idea and make it more customer centric.

Photo credit: Rikolto