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Some of the JuFresh team Selling the Juices outside Gulu University

JuFresh Enterprise is the name of a student enterprise made up of five young dynamic students pursuing MSc. Agri-Enterprises Development at Gulu University in Northern Uganda. The enterprise which started operating in November 2018 at Gulu University is venturing into producing a variety of fresh fruit juice and fruit salads. JuFresh Enterprise also engages with fruits producer’s organizations on contract basis to supply fruits as a way of reducing post-harvest loss, improving farmers’ income, alleviating key micronutrients deficiencies, improving food security and boosting the level of investments of fruit the processing sector.

The fruits range from avocado, passion fruit, watermelon, pineapple, as well as fruit salads. And are presented in convenient packaging, sizes, quantity and affordable price hence meeting the growing demands for safe and healthy juice free of preservatives. Currently, the group serve the entire majority of the student fraternity and staff of Gulu University.

The team members are Okello Robine the general manager, Alla Houessou Jemima the accountant, Aciro Lucy sales and marketing manager, Omara Henry the production manager and Amolo Herbert the Quality assurance manager. They also currently employ one female youth to help in sales and hope to employ more youth as the business expands with the goal of reducing youth unemployment.

What works better? Agri-entrepreneurship model inspired us

The inspiration to make dreams come true started after we joined Gulu University for our Master’s in Agri-Enterprises Development in 2017.  During the very first entrepreneurship lecture, Our Lecturer opened with this phrase “money defecates money”– narrates Okello Robine the general manager and Team Leader of the group. He says that this meant that one should put money in a business to make more money.

The Gulu University Student Enterprise Scheme (SES) Model

At Gulu University specifically the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment has a well-articulated designed Agri-entrepreneurship model that exhibit practical approach of Agri-entrepreneurship training branded as the Student Enterprise Scheme (SES) in which students work as a group to develop, defend, implement and evaluate agribusiness plans. It was from this hub that we were guided and supported with funds on credit to actualize economically viable and commercially sound business plans. The model also allow students to get connected to credit and micro-finance initiatives to enhance their entrepreneurial success. Action taken by the department of Rural Development and Agribusiness partner with the Agripreneurship Alliance allowed sponsorship for all students pursuing MSc. Agri-enterprises Development at Gulu University to pursue an online course offered by the African Management Initiative (AMI) on “How to write an agribusiness plan” for one month.

In 2018, the Agripreneurship Alliance put up a competition with a prize of $1,000 for the best business plan during the course. JuFresh Team took part in the competition and emerged as the best group selected from Gulu University, Uganda. Because of the potential of the business, the prize money was topped up by the faculty with funding from the Student Enterprise Scheme (SES) project at Gulu University further supported by RUFORUM-MASTERCARD Foundation. The student enterprise loan scheme worth Uganda shillings two million was given to Jufresh Enterprise and expected to be paid back in a period of one year. These sources of finance enabled JuFresh to start the enterprise since it allowed them acquire the basic assets like a juice cooler, blender and the raw materials. They hope to pay back within the shortest period possible as their business is registering increased sales on a daily.

Our average, their daily sales amount to Ugx 120,000/= with pocket friendly prices of juice ranging from 1000ugx to 2000ugx

Jufresh Enterprises future plan

In five years’ time, they hope to expand the enterprise to include fruit drying to reduce on fruit wastage during bumper harvest. They plan to then add value by chaning the dried fruits into powder to with a more prolonged shelf life.  The group belives in Skills sharing and therefore plans to introduce business clinics at Gulu University campus where at least 20 students per academic year will be nurtured on various business aspects along fruits value chain. Additionally, in the long run, their vision is to commercialise this business by using bottles for packaging the fresh fruit juices for sale at national and international markets across the great Lakes regions.

Important Links

  1. Watch Jufresh team on award winning ceremonies follow the link below at https://www.theagripreneur.org/interviews-video-resources
  2. Like the Facebook Page Jufresh Enterprises at https://www.facebook.com/jufreshenterprise/

 


Student

Mr. Melas Cayrol Adoko

My name is Melas Cayrol Adoko. I am a Beninese by nationality and currently pursuing a masters’ degree in Food Security and Community Nutrition at the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, Gulu University, Uganda.  My study at Gulu University is being sponsored by the Nurturing grant project which is funded by the Mastercard foundation.

At the end of my first year, I was selected by the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment (FAE) to teach undergraduate students as a graduate assistant.  Currently, I am lecturing a course in post-harvest biology to the students of Bachelor of Science in Food and Agribusiness (BFA), year II. The course provides the students with knowledge and skills for understanding internal and external factors determining post-harvest quality of agricultural produce.

In addition, because I know both French and English, I have been recruited by the University as a part-time business French lecturer in the department of public administration, Faculty of Business and Development studies of Gulu University.  This course focuses on equipping students with basic skills in business French, with a greater focus on enabling them to hold short conversations in basic French, receiving and serving clients using everyday expressions and structures in French, as well as acquiring the four basic language skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking at an elementary level.

To me, teaching a foreign language (French) to Anglophone students is a unique experience and opportunity that the Nurturing grant program has afforded me. I am delighted to be involved in University lecturing because it has enabled me to improve on my presentation and explanation skills. On the other hand, I have been receiving encouraging feedbacks from students who testify that I am impacting their lives in one way or another.

 This experience and mentorship has enabled me to decide on my career path which is to continue teaching both food science related courses and applied French and pursue a PhD degree upon completion of my master’s program.

I am grateful to Gulu University, RUFORUM and the Nurturing grant project for giving me the chance to pursue my master degree at Gulu University.

About Melas Cayrol Adoko

He is abeneficiary of the MCF@RUFORUM Scholarship and was among the first cohort pursuing Masters’ degree in Food Security and Community Nutrition at the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, Gulu University


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Prof. Adipala Ekwamu the RUFORUM Executive Secretary giving his remarks at the Meeting.

Reeta Roy the President and CEO of Mastercard Foundation on 4th January 2019 met a delegation from Makerere University, RUFORUM and Ministry of Education and Sports at the State House, Nakasero, Uganda.  The convener of the meeting was the First Lady of the Republic of Uganda who is also the Minister of Education and Sports.

In her welcome remarks to Reeta Roy, the First Lady Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni thanked MasterCard Foundation, through the President and CEO, for investing significantly into the Ugandan economy through the various Organisations and projects that that the Foundation supports such as; The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) under the TAGDev Program, Makerere University under Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program and Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) under the Tertiary Scholarships, among many others.

Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni said that the MasterCard vision feeds into the general policies of the Government of Uganda and that the Government’s strategic plan of Skilling Uganda is in line with the Mastercard Foundation’s “Young Africa Works” strategy which was launched in Kigali, Rwanda in 2018, announcing an ambitious goal to enable 30 million young people, particularly young women, to secure dignified and meaningful work.

The MasterCard Foundation is a funder, a convener, and a catalyst for change. The Foundation believes that the change will be driven from within the continent and in particular at country level by the character, hard work, and ingenuity of the people on the continent. The Foundation has made significant investments in Uganda a total of approximately US$336.9 million directly and in part to Uganda through 24 projects running in Uganda.

In his remarks, Prof. Adipala Ekwamu the Executive Secretary of RUFORUM thanked the Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Education and Sports for hosting the RUFORUM Secretariat, a network of 105 Universities in 37 African Countries, at Makerere University. He said that, through the support from Mastercard Foundation, RUFORUM has been able to Pilot new models of agricultural education and entrepreneurship training at two partner universities (Gulu and Egerton) and TVETs, scaling successful approaches across the RUFORUM member universities in Africa. In total US$27 million dollars has been invested in the eight year TAGDev project at RUFORUM with eight million dollars going directly into the programme in Uganda. He thanked the Foundation through Reeta Roy for the support to African Youths and institutions.

On his part, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University expressed thanks to Mastercard Foundation for lifting the suspension over Makerere University, and re-assured Reeta Roy that with the new measures in place, female students will be safe at the University. He acknowledged that it is in the best interest of the University to have more girls attain university Education. He also noted that more than 30% of faculty staff at Makerere are female and that through the affirmative action, the ratio of female students graduating is now higher than that of the male students. Being a community-bassed University, he said the role of Makerere is to help communities come out of Poverty.

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Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni (Third Left) and Reeta Roy (Centre) as they posed for a photo with the delegation

The First Lady applauded Makerere University for implementing one of the most successful models that not only skills the youth but creates jobs for them too. The SPEDA model, now in its eighth year, is embedded in five pillars through formal and informal approaches. These pillars are Skills, Production, Enterprise, Development and Accreditation (SPEDA) and they address the third function of the University as stipulated in the 2001 Universities and other Tertiary Institutions Act, to disseminate Knowledge.

Prof. Kabasa the Coordinator of the project said that SPEDA is a model of transformative education which addresses gaps in education and extension systems to transform households from fragmented to businesses. This model uses the skills of the University stakeholders and gives opportunity for it to be rolled out beyond Makerere University because it not only looks at employability but also at job creation among the youth.

Reeta Roy thanked the delegation but specifically the first Lady Hon. Janet Museveni for the warm reception and commitment to changing the plight of the youth through Education. She said that the MasterCard Foundation greatly appreciates the work of its partners who are the source of their Knowledge.

“So much of what we have learnt and tried to address as a Foundation has come from communities with very practical and demand driven challenges” said Reeta Roy as she thanked the delegation for working closely with Mastercard to achieve its vision for Africa.

The Frist Lady concluded by making a call to all partners to continue working together to support a very critical demography in Uganda, the Youth.

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