World Food Programme, Outbox Hub Partner to Support Food System Innovations in Uganda

By Mark Kawalya

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has entered into a partnership with Outbox Hub to launch the IGNITE Food Systems Challenge that will offer technical support, mentorship, and funding of more than UGX1.07 billion for innovators who can deploy locally based solutions to tackle food challenges.  

WFP along with Outbox, called for applications from entrepreneurs and innovators with solutions tackling food systems challenges during the launch of the challenge at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Kampala.

Submission of applications officially opened on April 21 and will close on May 20. Finalists will receive UGX176.7 million along with six months of accelerated support and mentorship.

Stanley Ahimbisibwe, Assistant Commissioner for Quality Assurance and Standardization at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, welcomed the partnership, saying “We must consistently welcome actors who are trying to support SMEs and cooperatives to address food challenges so we can also produce good quality foods that we can sell at higher potential markets.”

The IGNITE challenge seeks innovative solutions that can contribute to food security by providing access to nutritious food; improving supply chains, the advancement of food security for all; and the empowerment of smallholder farmers.

The challenge is supported by USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance and Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The two agencies will support startups, SMEs, and cooperatives in Uganda to upscale their solutions in an effort to contribute to the economy while tackling gaps in the food system. The program is aimed at achieving zero hunger in the world, by having an impact on promoting innovation in food systems.

Marcus Prior, the Country Director and Head of Programmes at WFP Uganda while giving his remarks during the launch noted that the private sector is an important partner in the journey of achieving zero hunger by 2030. “If we’re to achieve SDGs to Zero Hunger by 2030, the private sector should be a vital partner, especially considering their central role in strengthening food systems,” said Prior, before adding

“We are seeking the best possible partnerships to build stronger and more resilient food systems and we cannot do it alone. No one can do it alone. Partnerships across private sector players, entrepreneurs, innovators, small and medium scale businesses, cooperatives, and so on are absolutely essential to strengthening food systems.”

Supporting Prior’s remarks, the Executive Director of Outbox Hub Ricard Zulu, said they were excited to collaborate with WFP to in supporting businesses to flourish while ensuring everyone in Uganda enjoys their right to food.

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