Small and Medium Enterprises wishing to invest in efforts to reduce the impacts of climate change on Uganda’s Agriculture have been offered an opportunity to access financial support from a pilot fund worth 7.5 billion shilling.
Uganda’s agriculture is evidently experiencing rapid declining growth rate mainly because of 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.
Now launching the aBi Green Challenge Fund in Kampala, Mona Muguma Sebuliba the Chief Executive Officer of the Agriculture Business Initiative aBi says this vulnerability will worsen if Uganda continues with its high levels of unsustainable natural resource utilization
Muguma says that the fund, supported by The Danish Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU) and the European Union has chosen to support Agribusinesses and farmers to increase their resilience to climate change and climate variability.
Muguma explains that the pilot fund also focuses on supporting the companies accelerating climate mitigation actions to reduce Green House Gas emissions; protect local environment, including soils, ecosystems and biodiversity.
“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.”-Muguma.
In the next six weeks aBi will start receiving applications for funds for the three different categories ranging from UGX 5 million to UGX 500 million for promotion of development of methods and systems that address climate change challenges in agriculture.
Felix Okoboi the Board Chairman aBi says that the drastic change in the 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,” said Okoboi.
John Ssenyonga the Director of Programs at Heifer International hailed the fund as a welcome idea because it will help fast-track and supplement its green growth interventions that include availing micro-irrigation pumps, extension of solar systems for water for production, and mechanization of agriculture to the smaller holder farmers.
George Mutagubya, the Communications Manager at aBi, highlights that the Green Challenge Fund focuses on addressing climate change challenges in all seven aBi priority value chains including Coffee, dairy, poultry, Cereals, pulses, horticulture and oilseeds.
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.
The eligibility criteria for this fund caters for projects at Ideation stage that require nurturing and piloting (5 – 30 million shillings), Projects at pilot stage with green innovations in aBi priority value chains as well as those that are at Acceleration (50-200 million Shillings) and lastly Projects at growth stage-aBi existing and past implementing partners as well as a new entities seeking green their investments (average project size UGX500m.