By Mark Kawalya
Grainpulse an agriculture focused social enterprise has been working with farmers to increase fertilizer uptake, boost garden output and improve livelihoods.
About 80% of the Uganda population derives its sustenance from agriculture. Furthermore, the sector accounts for around 23% of the country’s GDP (as per data from the World Bank.)
However, most agriculture is carried out on a subsistence model and fertilizer uptake varies between 1 to 3kg per hectare of land. In comparison, fertilizer use in Asia is estimated at 150kg per hectare which is a stark contrast to the Ugandan setting.
The low use of fertilizer has led to a perennially low yield rate that falls below the world average especially for smallholder farmers. In addition, these farmers are logistically excluded from easy market access and lack resources to organize efficient produce distribution mechanisms.
Located in Mukono, Grainpulse aims to increase harvest yields in the country by supplying a high grade of needs-based agro-inputs and offering farmer advisory. Similarly, the firm provides market access to farmers so they can have access to transparent market prices for produce. The firm has also been working with farmers to support value creation along the whole agriculture value chain.
The firm additionally buys farmer produce such as coffee, barley and maize at competitive rates so they can get value for their hard work.
In 2019 Grainpulse received an $11M world bank loan to expand its operations and become a one-stop-shop that farmers can use to access various agricultural services.
Hannington Karuhanga, the Grainpulse CEO and founder said, “Our partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) will help Grainpulse move to the next stage of growth. We chose to work with IFC because it takes a long-term view of our partnership and adds value beyond financing, in areas such as farmer linkages. We are aligned with IFC on our goal of supporting Ugandan farmers.”
Karuhanga has a wealth of experience having worked in the produce trading sector for 25 years, 15 years of which has been at executive level. He formed the firm out of a passion to see the lives of farmers radically transformed through agriculture.
Grainpulse has also collected, stored, processed and exported coffee since 2002 previously trading under the name Savannah Commodities Company.
An initiative by K+S Kali GmbH Germany (one of the world’s top fertilizer suppliers) discovered that in areas where Ugandan soils remain fertile, crop productivity increased by 30%. This explains why one of Grainpulse’s core activities is supplying fertilizer to the agriculture sector.