The Uganda Development Trust (UDET), supported through financing from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), United States African Development Foundation (USADF), and the Rockefeller Foundation, assists small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to prepare business plans and access credit. From this support, enterprises improve their profits, operating margins, production volumes and number of smallholder farmer suppliers, to name a few achievements. One example is SESACO, a food processing company that offers employment opportunities, especially for women. SESACO Foods Company, created in 1987 on the outskirts of Kampala, Uganda, specialises in producing high value nutritious foods made from millet, maize, soybeans, groundnuts and sesame. Notable products include Soya Cup, an instant soy-milk beverage and brown butter, a mixture of roasted sesame, groundnuts and soybeans, used as a seasoning and a substitute for dairy butter. The company has 80 employees (55 of whom are women) with a monthly sales average of UGX 100 million (US$ 39,000). SESACO caters for neighbouring countries Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
While SESACO was effectively “up and running” since 1987, UDET’s audit in 2011 found that in addition to inadequate working capital, SESACO did not have a streamlined supply chain for raw materials, its products were sold haphazardly in lieu of a functioning marketing and distribution strategy, management did not provide guides or manuals for staff and the factory machinery was poorly organized resulting in wasted production time. After working through these challenges, SESACO received working capital from the US African Development Foundation to improve machinery, package materials with clear nutritional information, and partner with Makerere University’s Food Technology Department to work on product development.