I believe value addition is the future especially in a place like Uganda which has the potential to be an African food basket. If you look at the entire region that consists of Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi, DRC, and South Sudan, Uganda has 40% of the arable land. We also have massive potential if you look at production per acre of a commodity like rice.
Egypt produces an average of about 5 tons per acre of rice while we only produce about half of that yet we have more fertile soil than them. We will get there by improving our practices and improving our seed quality. Once we improve our production capacity, we can then get into value-add processing. Our focus is on maize, rice, sesame and avocado.
We are especially keen on avocado and sesame oils because we have assessed their market potential in Asian and European markets. We feel that Uganda can ramp up its production capacity because the costs of production are low coupled with favourable climatic conditions.
Before we can talk about the opportunities, we must establish certain harmonised standards. Setting up standards will create the foundation we need to start building serious infrastructure. Standards will also help us as we seek to reduce our over-reliance on imports and produce our own materials. If we had standardized materials for construction, it would save us a lot of time and money when building infrastructure. The solution here is for engineers, architects and manufacturers to come together and create similar standards across the continent.
We have, for the most part, worked on the health, educational and residential projects. I see opportunities coming when it comes to providing infrastructure for these sectors. Other stakeholders must come in and join in our efforts as we seek to create the infrastructure that will move our continent forward. Our ideas are being appreciated in the health sector for instance because our designs help medics serve patients even better.
Kuka Uganda Ltd was formed in 2002 and has made rapid progress in establishing itself in the East African construction & civil engineering industry. The firm operates in the building, heavy and civil construction and industrial construction sectors. Now well established in Uganda, the company is positioning for growth in the era of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
AfricaLive spoke with Businge Donald Managing Director of KUKA Uganda on Uganda's infrastructure scene and the future of civil engineering in East Africa. Read the full interview here.