Meet the Team: Edgar Kakuru, President of World Food Bank Uganda

edgar.kakwanoA career businessman, Edgar Kakuru’s career has taken him across continents – from the U.S. to the U.K. – and through diverse leadership roles in the fields of publishing, sales, marketing, and accounting. But throughout his life, Edgar maintained a desire to return to his home country of Uganda and work on an issue close to his heart: improving food security in Africa by elevating the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.

For the five years prior to joining the World Food Bank team, Edgar worked in the East African grain trade, specifically in Uganda, also known as the “food basket” of the region, on this very issue.

“After personally experiencing a lot of the barriers present in the agricultural value chain, it has been my goal to try and change people’s perspective on these issues. It’s my firm belief that the value chain has to be improved from the bottom up and in-tandem with various partners and stakeholders in order to ensure food security and food safety for the country, as well as improve the livelihood of the smallholder farmer,” Edgar said. The smallholder farmer is the backbone of the agricultural economy of Uganda. However, they face an uphill task in going into production commercially and most tend to stick to subsistence agriculture, leading their lives in imminent poverty. But this can be changed with very basic inputs, such as creating links to a market for their produce, links to education on best agricultural practices, links to sellers of improved seed varieties, and, where necessary, links to assistance with irrigation and fertilizers and pesticides.”

Edgar says that many of these issues have been broached by the Government of Uganda and other agencies in the years, but that most attempts to fix these issues have been done in silo, focusing on programmatic improvements, one segment at a time. He said he was drawn to the World Food Bank’s mission particularly because it aligned with his own convictions that systemic change to our global food systems is required for real and lasting improvements and because he sees the World Food Bank being uniquely poised to help ensure better agriculture systems in Africa through its focus on encouraging high-yield crops, boosting irrigation, increasing access to fertilizers, improving market access for smallholder farmers, and making better use of information technology.

“The World Food Bank brings [systemic change] as a solution to the current inefficiencies that exist in our world’s food system,” Edgar said. “It is important to integrate as many partners from the various sectors as possible in order to be successful.”

For more information about Edgar, view his profile on our staff page.