• October 25, 2020

Kayunga Women Turn ‘Survival’ Maize Production Into Blooming Business Empire

Mukisa Maize Mill offers market to over 20 maize out growers and have formed partnerships with the smallholder farmers.

Assuming charge as sole-breadwinner of the family after the passing of her husband, Mrs. Lubwama narrowed the demands of her house to a single preoccupation; survival first.

A maize mill left behind by her late husband Mr. Lubwama, in their home town of Kayunga, some 74 kilometres northeast of Ugandan capital Kampala was all the struggling family had.

Unfortunately, she had not been directly involved in this milling business to comprehend juggling it to keep the family afloat, but resolved to put her head to it: “but for survival”.

Lubwama sought audience with fellow women who were facing the similar hardships and interested them to boost maize production, process it and sell to the local market. The women groups, desiring to keep struggling families running, they quickly bought the idea and just like that, Mukisa Maize Mill was set, riding on the back of an open and relatively less competitive market.

This “small idea” has since 2015 bloomed into a business that is benefiting communities. More than 200 women are beneficiaries of this amazing initiative, grouped in SACCOS of 30-40 people.

Mukisa Maize Mill offers market to over 20 maize out growers and have formed partnerships with the smallholder farmers. What this means is that the farmers are assured of the market for their produce all year round.

The company manger, Agatha Nalubwama–Lubwama’s eldest daughter who after graduating from Makerere Business School in 2016 decided to go back and aid her mother with the business skills she had garnered at college–says the company has since turned itself into a community gold pit.

“We look for enterprising women to work with them as out growers. We buy their produce during the harvest period, process it and supply to schools, retail shops, wholesalers and other organizations in Kayunga. We also support them from the time of planting, pruning, weeding till harvesting season,” Nalubwama says.

“We decided to continue dealing in maize production because it’s an indigenous crop and an important staple food for the urban poor and is the primary food source in institutions such as schools, prisons, military, and the police. Besides matooke, Maize flour is the most consumed food in Uganda as you can get porridge and maize bread out of it” she adds.

Nalubwama recently pitched the idea in the DFCU business proposal writing competition under bank’s initiative dubbed ‘Rising Woman’.  She was among top ten women entrepreneurs, winning a trip to Nairobi for a study tour to  compare notes with Kenyan women business counterparts.

Mrs. Lubwama(left) and her daughter Agness Nalubwama receive a dummy ticket for the DFCU Raising woman tour, where participants met counterparts in Nairobi for business benchmarking. Courtesy Photo

The concept of her proposal is to acquire more land, increase on out growers and mechanize the production consequently expanding their market to DRC, Rwanda, and Sudan. This will enable them to supply super maize meal for the local and regional markets.

“I have gained so much knowledge, this trip gave me more confidence in what we are doing and I plan to pass on the knowledge acquired to my team and also implement the learnings to make our group better,” Nalubwama says.

Despite the high electricity tariffs and inadequate storage facilities challenging the business, Nalubwama says “the possibilities are endless.

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Amos Wambi

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