Derek Kwesiga – Agribusiness Entrepreneur [opinion] (allAfrica.com)

Derek Kwesiga is an innovative agribusiness entrepreneur engaged in value addition to fruits and vegetables under the brand name JustJoy. He makes juice. On returning to Uganda after garnering extensive experience in Bar & Restaurant management in USA, Kwesiga started Derekorp in 2008 with assistance from Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) under the incubation programme.

Since then he has been making fruit juice from different fruits working in collaboration with Technoserve Uganda a partnership that has seen hundreds of farmers groups in Luwero, Kayunga, Kabale, and Ngora benefit from the post-harvest marketing initiative.

The company was honoured with the European Marketing and Research Center/African Development Bank Business Incubator Award worth US$15,000 in 2009 and has since identified markets in the East African Region, and Southern Sudan.It acquired a modern juice packaging system to ensure quality fruit juice packaging in August 2012. JustJoy juice is currently present in supermarkets countrywide with prospects of exporting in the near future, says Kwesiga.

“Starting a business project anywhere is very difficult, especially Uganda. But if you believe in your vision totally and are willing to do whatever it takes to see it through, it can be done. This plus quality assurance adds up to a potentially successful endeavor,” says Kwesiga.

Through research on customer trends, Kwesiga has come to terms with the fact that the quality of any product or service is compared with what is regarded the best in the market that the customer has personally experienced or heard of. Kwesiga is currently engaged in the development of fruit jams and sauces as well as the viability of using pineapple crowns (a processing bi-product) to make paper to expand the business line. The entrepreneur is working hard to get the juice exported hopefully by the end of the year upon issuance of an export certification from UNBS that is in the final stages.

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