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The Agripreneur: A new breed of Young entrepreneurs combining their love of Farming and Agriculture with an acquired professional Business Approach

Seventy percent of employment in Africa comes from agriculture, so you can argue that, in Africa, agriculture and economy are synonymous. In effect, you cannot modernize the economy in Africa without starting with agriculture.” This quote, from Prof. Calestous Juma’s The New Harvest, is yet another reminder of the crucial role that agriculture will play in propelling Africa out of poverty (Shields, Elist. 2013. Africa Policy Magazine, John F Kennedy School of Government: The Key to unlocking Africa’s Multi-Billion Dollar Agriculture Opportunity: Great Managers).I believe that in the next 5-10 years the youth are going to have a strong role to play if Agricultural development is to be realized.  For this to happen, the youth have to continue pursing employment and business avenues in the agricultural industry, which as cited above has always been a big employer for Africans. For example here in Uganda, many university graduates are now joining the Farming and Agribusiness movement as a way to earn a living but they are also adopting and using knowledge gained from their various courses to form innovative and different ways of adding value to their crops.  I have personally been involved in agriculture for some time mostly in the field of horticulture and in 2010- 2012 grew some bird eye chili and Jalapenos that I was selling to an export company here in Uganda. But weather changed over first planting season with long dry spells and the current monopoly of irrigation system companies here in Uganda. I took the initiative to research on effective low cost models of irrigation and later picked up some models that were fabricated locally at almost half the cost.  I later passed on these models to my colleagues who were interested in low cost irrigation systems and market knowledge of what to grow.It’s from this that BITEPH Strategic Consulting was started and currently operating in Uganda. We have created an ecosystem were we provide a one-stop shop for start ups and SME companies in the field of agribusiness and agro-processing through the provision of Funding opportunities, Business Mentoring, Financial literacy, Legal and Creative/Design support.Amagara Skin Care is example of one of the successful incubatee’s to have graduated from BITEPH Agri-solutions incubator. “Amagara Skincare Ltd is a natural cosmetic company based in Uganda. The dream was to bring 5-year product idea into reality and on to the shelf. Our team had the privilege to work alongside an enthusiastic client who had a social driven motive to promote farmer out-grower schemes and value addition. The result: a stunning natural well branded skincare product that has received tremendous positive response in the market and media.”Donald Byamugisha from UgandaDonald Byamugisha obtained his BSc in Biochemistry with Management Studies from University of Sussex in 2009, and then pursed his Masters in Biotechnology from Georgetown University in 2010. Interned in the Agricultural Division at the Biotechnology Industry Organization in DC and later returned to his home country Uganda where he did some consulting work with Association of Strengthening Agricultural Research in East and Central Africa (ASARECA) in partnership with Agrogenetic Technologies (AGT) under a World Bank Food Security Project.  He is now partner at BITEPH Strategic Consulting pushing for more youth involvement in agri-business. Email: ;