UNDP Boosts Kabale University’s Financial Muscles in Value Addition

By Naboth Isaac Niwagaba

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has extended financial support of USD 260,000 (UhX 910 million) to Kabale University’s Business and Innovation Hub in support of various projects, including Irish Potato Value Addition.

This was revealed during a meeting at the Kabale-based institution, where the Resident Representative for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Elsie Attafuah, had gone to check on the progress of the projects funded by the organization at the institution.

According to Kabale University Vice Chancellor Prof. Joy Constance Kwesiga, the Irish potato value addition project was initiated months ago, but it had only been at the research stage awaiting funding.

“UNDP had earlier given us USD 60,000, but now they have given us more USD 20,000, which will boost our innovation and business hub,” Prof. Kwesiga told journalists on the sidelines of the meeting.

Ambassador Elsie commended Kabale University for considering undertaking the Irish potato value addition projects, adding that it was long overdue given the availability of the food crop in the Kigezi Subregion.

“Kigezi and Kabale in particular are known for growing and producing Irish potatoes; therefore, the project is timely, and I’m excited to see you progress and achieve your goals in the near future,” she told the meeting that involved Kabale University management, UNDP delegates, members of the Guild Representative Council,  and lecturers from various faculties.

Elsie challenged Kabale University to focus more on skills development as they pursue their goals to be the leading institution in research and industrialization in western Uganda.

“We can talk about business, industries, tourism, and many others, but if we are not promoting skills development, then all this will not be relevant enough to the people around and within the university,” she said.

Assoc. Prof. Businge Phelix Mbabazi, who made the presentation about the progress of the Business and Innovation Hub at Kabale University, explained that the money donated by the UNDP will be used to procure equipment to use in Irish potato value addition and support other activities in the business and innovation center.

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Kigezi produces 60% of the Irish potatoes grown in Uganda, and at the regional level, the Pearl of Africa ranks third after Kenya and Rwanda in Irish potato production.