TGCU INTERVIEW: “I look forward to Agribusiness Congress East Africa developing into a platform that enables business to business engagement leading to actual sales”

Chris Kaijuka, Agribusiness Congress East Africa1) Let’s start with some background on The Grain Council of Uganda and the work that you do, particularly in the agri sector, there is a proud history there.
The Grain Council of Uganda (TGCU) is a non-profit, membership organization registered in 2012 and brings together key stakeholders along the grains value chain. TGCU strives to have the Uganda grains sub-sector becoming more efficient with effective players who will make Uganda grain more competitive.

TGCU is a platform for collaboration and coordination of activities in the grains sub-sector. It was formed to address the challenges that afflict the Uganda grains sector some of which are: limited availability of quality inputs, Poor and inconsistent volumes of quality grain, Poor and inadequate grain storage and processing facilities, Poor Post-Harvest management, Informal and unregulated grain trade and Non enforcement of grain quality standards.

TGCU has grown around players and stakeholders with broad experience in the grain sub-sector in Uganda, and a wide network of contacts across the country.

2) Which current projects are you particularly excited about at the moment?
•    At TGCU, we are currently pursuing affordable financing for infrastructure development and working capital for members.
•    We look forward to the launch of the electronic trading on the Uganda National Commodity Exchange where we are shareholders.

3) What in your view are the main challenges facing the agri sector in Uganda? And in East Africa?
•    Non-enforcement of standards on commodity (especially grain) crossing borders.
•    Inadequate storage and processing capacity.
•    High power tariffs.
•    High cost of borrowing.

4) Any success stories/case studies that you can share?

•    We started the grain trade policy debate which resulted into the launch of the Uganda National Grain Trade Policy.
•    We launched a self-regulatory code of conduct for grain handlers.
•    We were involved in the revitalization of the Uganda National Commodity Exchange which is due for launch and strongly advocated for the establishment of the Uganda Warehouse Receipt System Authority.
•    We launched grain quality committees in 5 districts across the country.

5) What is your vision for the industry?
A national grain sector that supplies the region and is the preferred source of high quality grain.

6) What would be your message to a prospective investor – what are the main opportunities in Uganda?
There are opportunities in Agriculture with our two seasons (bimodal) and a fast growing population; highest in the world at 3% per annum.

7) The Grain Council of Uganda is a key partner in the upcoming Agribusiness Congress East Africa again, why the decision to partner again?
Building on the success of last year’s event and looking towards developing it into a continental event

8) What is the Council’s message at the event?
Uganda has great opportunity for agribusiness investment.

9) What are you most looking forward to at Agribusiness Congress East Africa?
The development of the congress into a platform that enables business to business engagement leading to actual sales.