The project seeks to enhance value addition through the Young Africa Works Lead Firm Structure programme to create meaningful and sustainable employment.
Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) in partnership with Delight and Mastercard Foundation has unveiled a project that seeks to open a fruit market in the northern Uganda to create employment opportunities for the youth and women through processing and sales of variety of fruits.
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The project dubbed Delight for Youth seeks to create a market for mangoes, citrus and guavas, grown on a nucleus farm of approximately 2,000 acres in Nwoya District and enhance value addition through the Young Africa Works Lead Firm Structure programme to create meaningful and sustainable employment.
According to Mr. Stephen Asiimwe, PSFU’s chief executive officer, creating employment is the biggest driver of the project through adding value to primary raw materials such as fruits.
“Our main aim is to give value to primary products as people also earn and transform their lives,” said Asiimwe during a stakeholders’ engagement in Nwoya District.
Uganda’s demand for processed fruit juice
The demand for processed fruit juice is rising in Uganda due to growth in urbanisation, incomes and middle class, which has created a good market for fruits.
However, even with availability of locally-processed fruit juice, Uganda still imports a large amount of fruit juice from mainly South Africa and Kenya.
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Dr. Julian Adyeri, the Delight chief executive officer said that the two acre project will lift hundreds of people out of poverty as well as change the face of Uganda’s fruit juice industry.
Delight is one of Uganda’s largest fruit juice manufacturers, producing a variety of juice brands, among which include Cheers, the company’s flagship brand.
On his side, Colonel Charles Engola, the Minister of State for Labour, Employment and Industrial Relations described the project as huge milestone which will support creation of sustainable jobs for youth and women.
“This project fits well with the country’s Vision 2040, which desires to drive national development, especially through import substitution and value addition,” said Engola.
The Young Africa Works Lead Firm Structure programme has so far created 90,000 jobs across Uganda, with a target of creating at least 300,000 by 2025.
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Uganda’s youth unemployment
Youth unemployment in Uganda is estimated at 17 per cent with higher rates seen among females – 20 per cent – compared to 14 per cent for males.
The State of Uganda Population report 2018 noted that 1.2 million youth between 15 and 29 years, who are out of school, are not engaged in any productive work.