Agriculture Business Initiative announced the roll-out of the Green Challenge Fund which focuses on supporting: SMEs and farmers to increase their resilience to climate change and climate variability; climate mitigation actions to reduce or limit Green House Gas emissions; and a stronger local environment, including soils, ecosystems and biodiversity.
While launching the Fund, aBi CEO, Mona Muguma-Ssebuliba, said, “aBi is pleased to launch the Green Challenge Fund worth UGX 7.5 billion. With this fund aBi will support partnerships through green agribusiness investments for Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation and Biodiversity Conservation to further contribute to economic growth, job creation and improved incomes.”
Ssebuliba further noted that “This Fund will also promote the development of methods and systems that address green challenges in agriculture and to promote a green agri-food system. Today, we kick-off this Fund with UGX 7.5 billion as a pilot but our vision is to scale it up to UGX 20 billion by 2023, to further impact more SMEs and smallholder farmers and the supported agricultural value chains.”
She also observed that Uganda’s agriculture is evidently experiencing a rapid decline in its growth rate mainly because of the effects of climate change, and the population’s dependence on agriculture combined with changing climate patterns and unsustainable land management contributes to the country’s position as the 12th most vulnerable to climate change globally. “This vulnerability will worsen if Uganda continues with its high levels of unsustainable natural resource utilization,” she said.
In his remarks, Mr. Felix Okoboi, Chair of the aBi Board noted that, “The drastic change in our weather patterns and climate is a clear signal that no one should sit back and wait for the government or development partners to do something about the adverse impact of climate change. The challenge to reduce the impact of climate change as we seek to positively impact our communities through agriculture starts with us and is now in high gear.”
Okoboi added, “Today, we make another commitment to deliver on our mandate towards a competitive, profitable and sustainable agricultural and agribusiness sector, all of this in support of equitable wealth creation in Uganda, by unveiling an initiative that speaks directly to our core areas of interventions including value chain grant financing, Lines of Credit, Agricultural Guarantees as well as Technical Assistance/ Business Development Support (BDS) to build the capacities of Financial Institutions to finance agriculture and agribusinesses efficiently.”
Mr. Okoboi said, that his Board is particularly excited about the new Fund because it is in line with aBi’s commitment to sustainability and the global Environment Social and Governance (ESG) agenda towards overcoming climate change and its effects on our environment. “This initiative is therefore timely in many ways and we pledge to support the management of aBi in its implementation to ensure that it attains its set objectives and outcomes.”
The Green Challenge Fund is open to all actors that make contributions to aBi-supported priority value chains and have innovative and green ideas, private sector agribusinesses, NGOs, scientists, researchers, and start-ups. It will run for 12 – 18 months depending on the nature of the project.
To access the fund, eligible stakeholders including all actors that make contributions to aBi-supported priority value chains and have innovative and green ideas – private sector agribusinesses, NGOs, scientists, researchers, start-ups, etc. will be required to apply for the aBi Green Challenge Fund through the website; https://www.abi.co.ug/abi-development-ltd-welcome/applying-for-an-abi-grant/
aBi was jointly founded by the Governments of Denmark & Uganda in 2010 as a social enterprise that channels development cooperation funding to agribusinesses & agricultural service providers. aBi aims at building a competitive, profitable & sustainable agriculture and agribusiness sector in support of equitable wealth creation in Uganda. aBi is structured under two companies, aBi Development Ltd and aBi Finance Ltd.
aBi Development Ltd provides matching grants and Business Development Services (BDS) to agribusinesses and smallholder farmers to enhance production, productivity, value addition and market access. The supported agribusinesses and smallholder farmers are within seven value chains, namely; cereals, pulses, coffee, oilseeds, horticulture, poultry and dairy.
For the period 2014/21, aBiD offered matching grants worth UGX 198 Bn to over 228 projects. The number of beneficiary farmers reached through these projects is 1.3 million; with total acreage under the production of 2.8 million; total additional income worth UGX 945 Bn. 74,000 full-time jobs were created.