It felt very good to be the winner because for once I had the money to make my dreams come true

Lovin Kobusingye head of Kati Farms Uganda was awarded the EMRC-Rabobank Project Incubator Award, receiving a cash prize of US$15,000 during the EMRC-UNDP-PanAAC AgriBusiness Forum held in Dakar, Senegal from 25-28 November 2012.

Almost one year later – EMRC touched based with Lovin Kobusingye to view what she has achieved since her win.

EMRC: Can you tell us what your initial approach/response was after winning the Project Incubator Award at the AgriBusiness Forum 2012 and receiving the US$ 15,000 cash prize?

Lovin Kobusingye: It felt very good to be the winner because for once I had the money to make my dreams come true.

EMRC: Why should people attend this international forum being held in your country?

LK: Yes. Our main vision was  to improve aquaculture and food security in Uganda by educating fish farmers  and processing their farmed fish into innovative, ready-to-eat fishery products  to be sold commercially. Hence improving the economic viability and sustainability of the Ugandan fish sector by increasing its competitiveness while simultaneously reducing the pressure being placed on wild catches (Fishing from the lake). This has been achieved.

EMRC: How significant was the cash prize in moving forward with your business?

LK: Kati Farms has always been willing to make catfish and tilapia aquaculture a competitive and profitable business sector by increasing the efficiency and quality of its production. With the EMRC  cash prize, we have been able to established our own  fish processing unit in Kampala and have contracted outgrowers unit and a wholesale and retail market outlet to serve as commercial outlets where consumers can purchase fish sausages from Kati Farms Ltd. directly. The processing plant is used for making catfish sausages and tilapia fillets. The outgrowers unit is providing education and training, technical assistance, quality control assurance, and financial support to enable fish farmers to increase the quality of their production in line with consumer demands.

EMRC: How has having the spotlight on you and your business helped since your win?

LK: It has helped us to gain publicity as a credible company. We are now viewed as important stakeholders in the fisheries sector and this would not have been easy to achieve without the Project Incubator Award.  highlight the importance and role of investing in agricultural transformation and agricultural value chains to unlock the economic potential of the agriculture sector and the millions of people who depend on it for their livelihood.

EMRC: What would you like to achieve in the coming year?

LK: “Every finishline is a beginning of a new race”- Hence we desire to expand Kati Farm Suppliers Ltd.’s processing capacity up to a level of 1000 kg of catfish sausages per week. These targets are based on confirmed orders that have been secured from restaurants and supermarkets in Uganda. This level of total demand translates into a volume of at least 3,000 kg of whole catfish to be harvested and processed each week from fish ponds.

With these volumes of raw fish entering the processing facility, the following results are anticipated:

1) A harvest of an average of 3500 kg of catfish per week, earning each catfish farmer a gross revenue of approximately 6000 UGX per kg;

2) Production of 1100 kg of catfish sausages per week, at an average cost of 20,000 UGX per kg;

3) Secured sales of 1000 kg of catfish sausages per week, earning a gross revenue of 1,3 billion UGX per year (based on an estimated 50 weeks of production and 2 weeks for factory maintenance);

4) Creation of 10 new jobs at the processing facility;

5) Creation of 20 new jobs on each fish farm in the region through the  promotion and adoption of catfish aquaculture. We are now viewed as important stakeholders in the fisheries sector and this would not have been easy to achieve without the Project Incubator Award.

EMRC: How did your presence at the AgriBusiness Forum 2012 help you as an organization?

LK: Being at the Agribusiness Forum 2012 helped our organization to connect with the right people in business circles.

EMRC: What would you say to all those thinking of participating at this year’s AgriBusiness Forum to be held in Kigali, Rwanda from 6-9 October 2013?

LK: I encourage everyone to stand up and decide now to be part of this event as soon as possible. They will have no regrets!

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