World Food Bank Partners with Soya Solutions East Africa, Ltd.

More than 20 years ago, Henry Kizito-Musoke began working with international humanitarian organizations in his home country of Uganda. He credits this experience for helping him learn new languages and understand how to navigate the myriad complexities present in international development work and international business.

But his biggest takeaway from this work was that people in Uganda and beyond desperately need access to both better nutrition and better opportunities to earn an income.

“Uganda has one of the highest rates of child growth stunting in the world, meaning that many children in our country are not going to grow, physically, into healthy adults, as they should,” he said. “The other issue as that much of our agriculture system is driven by smallholder farmers, who are farming two to five acres, maximum, so not at a level which allows them access to the greater economy. These are the motivating factors that pushed me to start my business.”

The business Henry started is called Soya Solutions East Africa Limited (SSEAL), a company focused on developing sustainable, commercial soybean value chain operations in emerging markets in Sub-Saharan Africa. Working in tandem with many partners across the agricultural value chain, SSEAL promotes access to nutritious sources of protein in Sub-Saharan Africa by connecting smallholder farmers to larger scale providers of soybean seed, as well as processing operations that support commercial farmer development programs. In addition, SSEAL’s focus on producing affordable, high-protein food is done with a desire to help more children across Africa access nutritious food.

Henry’s vision is to unite smallholder farmers in Uganda in an integrated system that helps them produce higher yields of more nutritious crops, like soybeans. This is done by providing access to better seeds, education about mitigating post-harvest loss, and connecting farmers to processors on the global market.

“For smallholder farmers, the biggest challenges are access to good seed, reliable seed that produces a higher yield. Also, smallholder farmers are scattered and less organized, so it’s hard for them to gain critical mass in production that would give them access to the markets,” he said. “We have a more robust extension system that helps them [navigate] these issues, so they can increase their incomes and improve their lives.”

Henry is an avid proponent of soybeans and the impact the high-protein crop can have on human lives and human health. Together, the World Food Bank and SSEAL are moving forward on the first phase of an integrated soybean farming collective in Uganda that will unite 40,000 smallholder farmers across the country in producing soybeans for the manufacture of shelf-stable soybean cakes. This project is underway with a goal of bringing a product to market by the end of 2018.

Henry also has his eye on moving forward in creating better access to animal protein for the people of Uganda through livestock collectives. “Uganda has a very young population, with the majority of people being under the age of 35,” he said. “These young people are demanding more and more meat products as they grow into adults, and it is up to us as the business community to invest in such a way that we make livestock farming a viable business opportunity.”

Click here to learn more about Henry and SSEAL.