How AgroDuuka Uganda Limited's online business operations has enabled them to thrive during the pandemic period

AgroDuuka Uganda Limited is an online-based company that deliveries affordable and healthy groceries to the market. The company has intensified its online marketing to thrive during the season. Basil Mwotta the Chief Executive Officer interacted with the COVID-19 Business Info Hub and shared how they are innovating to get things done during the pandemic.

 

Tell us about yourself and what you do?

My name is Basil Mwotta, an agriculture enthusiast. I am the Chief Executive Officer of AgroDuuka Uganda Limited. Established in 2017, the company helps farmers find a credible and reliable market for their farm produce. We also deliver groceries to several clients, including homes, hotels, restaurants and marketplaces. Our suppliers include several smallholder farmers from aggregated communities across Uganda. We have our headquarters in Kampala, with operations in Mpigi, Mukono, Wakiso, Bukedea and Sheema districts.

 

What is your level of participation within the agribusiness sector?

Our level of participation is within the supply chain from the farm to the market. We work with registered farmers from whom we source produce. We register farmers by capturing location, the type of crops they grow, quantities, and quality. Apart from offering direct market to the farmers, we also link them to other buyers, provide them with market information and educate them on the transport costs to enable them to make an informed decision. Our registered farmers receive training on good agriculture practices and modern farming methods to better their yields and productivity. In 2019, we hosted an agriculture campaign, in Mpigi, in partnership with the Buganda Kingdom, where we trained over 1,200 farmers on modern farming methods and technologies.

What are you doing differently as a business to stay afloat during the pandemic?

The pandemic presented an opportunity for us to intensify our digital marketing, and we have been able to increase the range of our product offering. With the movement restrictions currently in place, we are getting more inquires and customers.  Our delivery volumes have increased by 20% during this period because of the growing awareness of digital channels.

However, the inter-district travel restrictions introduced by government during this lockdown have presented a challenge. Our field staff cannot efficiently conduct a physical quality inspection of the farm produce when the farmer sends a notification for produce to sale. So, we are currently engaging with the district authorities to access movement permits to continue our operations.

Although demand for our products and services is increasing, we have not embraced the market opportunity entirely simply because it requires funds to increase the number of farmers we source from, rent more warehouses and employ more labour. Therefore due to limited access to funds for expansion, we have restricted our coverage areas and concentrated on regular deliveries to manage product storage issues. We are also partnering with boda boda owners to make quick and timely deliveries.

 

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs during this pandemic period?

Uganda has many entrepreneurs, but many businesses collapse before making it to the third year. It goes back to the issues of the resilience of the entrepreneurs or how patient they can be to pull through challenging situations. Entrepreneurship is hard, starting a business is hard, and it is even more difficult with the current pandemic. Therefore I invite SMEs to be resilient, hang in there and look for ways of surviving and breaking even. It is not time to run away from the business.

The government and other stakeholders need also to support entrepreneurs since they create employment and bring services to the people. Stanbic Business Incubator is doing a fantastic job to train these entrepreneurs on financial literacy, business management and marketing. I call upon banks to provide affordable financing for entrepreneurs to enable business growth and expansion.

Lastly, I would like to thank you for this opportunity, and let’s continue supporting SMEs in Uganda.  

 

For deliveries, contact:

Tel: +256 705 236369

Email: agroduuka@gmail.com