Ugandan entrepreneur, Ida Horner, attended the recent Villages in Action conference in Kikube, Masindi, Uganda, on behalf of Business Fights Poverty, the event’s sponsor. We asked Ida to meet up with some of the business owners in the village to get an insight into their businesses, the challenges they have had to overcome, and the difference their businesses have made to their lives. In this second instalment I would like to introduce you to Stephen a farmer from Kikube. Stephen grows Maize, Beans, Cassava and groundnuts on his 12 acre farm. He is married with 10 children some of whom are still at school.
IH: Stephen please tell us about your business
S: I grow several cash crops that I sell to earn money
IH: where do you sell your produce?
S: I sell through the middle men who come to village from Masindi town and sometimes I sell locally
IH: How does your business help you meet day to day challenges of life?
S: I have a good income from the business that enables me to put food on the table, maintain my home and pay my children’s school fees
IH: What are some of the difficulties that you face in your business?
S: Capital to scale the business, transporting my produce to the market
IH: How do you access working capital for your business?
S: I borrow banks such as the Centenary bank
IH: What would you do if you had access to more capital
S: I would open a shop
IH: Oh? Why is that? What would you sell?
S: I would sell my own produce. I would possibly move to Masindi town
IH: why is that?
S: There is more money in Masindi town
IH: What would happen if everyone moved to town? Who would grow the food to feed the nation?
S: I would maintain a presence in the village and continue to farm
IH: you have alluded to the fact that the only means to get your produce to the market is by bicycle. How much maize do you produce ?
S: I produce 20 bags but can’t transport it all by bicycle to the market and for this reason I cannot get a fair price for my produce. Middle men come to the village and offer me whatever price they want. I can’t argue with them as I can’t get my produce to the market – they take advantage of my situation
IH: What can you do about that whole situation?
S: There are discussions in the village to address this challenge. We also talk about the development of the village but we lack money to develop the village.
IH: You have stated that due to lack of money the village does not develop. What does development look? What would you like to see if you had access to money? What would you do to develop the village or your business?
S: having transport to take our produce to market would help
IH: can the village form its own cooperative and perhaps share transport costs?
S: we have discussed this, but we are not sure how to go about implementing it
IH: so what next for your business?
S: I would like to open a shop in in Masindi town and that is what I am focused on