The Embassy of Sweden has renewed its partnership with the Agricultural Business Initiative (aBi) Trust and the Embassy of Denmark for continued support for the year 2015-2018. The support to aBi Trust will be provided as delegated cooperation through the Embassy of Denmark. By improving capacity of value chains in coffee, maize, oil seeds, pulses, dairy and horticulture and by increasing availability of agricultural funds, aBi Trust is designed to strengthen the competitiveness of Uganda´s agriculture and agro-processing sectors.
Uganda´s agriculture sector is performing below its potential. Productivity is low and therefore, agricultural derived income is generally low, making it also unattractive to many of the young people entering the labour market each year. Agriculture does however have the potential for creating jobs that provides incomes. This requires that farming is approached as a business and that many options for value addition in agro-processing and agribusiness are better exploited. The continued cooperation with aBi Trust will address these opportunities in many ways.
The Embassy of Sweden was part of the initial design of aBi Trust and was providing financial support during 2010 – 2013. In 2014 aBi Trust interventions reached about 240,000 beneficiaries, helping more than 120,000 farmers adopt good agricultural practices and improved technologies, and contributed to the creation of more than 20,000 jobs in the agricultural sector. As a result of aBi Trust’s interventions, the total income of all the beneficiaries increased by about 240 billion shillings, and the total new savings of the supported households reached about 33 billion shillings in 2014.This is well in line with the Swedish Development Strategy for Uganda 2014 – 2018, with an explicit focus on inclusive growth and productive employment.
aBi integrates Business Development Services (BDS) with finance to the benefit of the rural communities and private sector actors in agribusiness through strengthening linkages to increase agricultural production and productivity. 76% of female workers in Uganda are employed in agriculture. aBi Trust acknowledges the importance of women in improving agricultural performance and their role in rural growth. By promoting “Farming as a Family Business” both men and women will be encouraged to contribute to improving outcomes from the farm by more equal distribution of gender roles and responsibilities in farm management. The second phase of aBi Trust funding will also strengthen the focus on green economic growth. Climate change mitigation and adaption measures at the farmer level are important considering increased pressure on the land from the growing population and potential adverse eﬀects for agribusiness development because of climate change. Gender equality and focus on environment and climate change are priorities in Swedish development cooperation.
Addressing equal responsibilities and opportunities between men and women at farm level is crucial not only for improved livelihoods but also for strengthening women´s economic empowerment, emphasizes Urban Andersson, the Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda. ”I am proud about Sweden being a champion for gender equality and I am happy to continue the collaboration with aBi Trust to secure that both women and men benefit from economic growth processes in Uganda”.
Integrating gender methodologies in private sector agribusiness supports actors to contribute to the agricultural sector by increasing land and labor productivity, and market competitiveness thereby contributing to poverty reduction through economic growth, wealth, and employment creation.
Andre Dellevoet, the Group CEO of aBi whilst thanking the Embassy of Sweden for its continued support noted “aBi is passionate about cross-cutting initiatives of Gender, Green Growth and Human Rights Based Approaches and will ensure that the above is integrated in all value chains we support and financial services interventions that will in turn contribute to strengthening the competitiveness of Uganda’s agricultural and agro-processing sector”.
“I am very pleased that Sweden has decided to renew its support to aBi Trust through the delegated cooperation with the Danish Embassy”, says the Danish Ambassador, Mogens Pedersen. “Sweden has been a long-term partner providing support for aBi’s vision and mandate to support small-scale farmers in order to lift people out of poverty through the promotion of inclusive and shared growth in Uganda. The fact that Sweden has decided to continue the partnership is also a vote of confidence in aBi’s capacity to generate results”.
aBi was founded by the government of Denmark and Uganda to promote private sector agribusiness in Uganda and its Development Partners include by Government of Denmark , The Netherlands, SIDA, UKaID, USAID, European Union and KfW.