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Numa's Journey

Numa's journey started in 1995 with the founder, Mr. Robert Matsiko who was retrenched from the Ministry of Agriculture where he worked as a field assistant officer. At only 27, Robert did not despair; instead saw this as an opportunity to pursue his idea of value addition of local grains like maize and millet for human consumption and their bi-products for animal and poultry feeds.

It all began..

Mr. Robert Matsiko’s entrepreneurship journey started way back in 1995 after he was retrenched from the Ministry of Agriculture, where he had worked as a poultry assistant for five years. He was given a package of 140,000/= that was worth a bicycle by then.

After being home for about a month, an idea struck his mind, there were no firms processing animal and poultry feeds in Western Uganda; everything was coming from NUVITA in Jinja. At the same time, when he was in Kampala, he had eaten millet which had sand in it. This got him thinking of making quality flour from the millet that was in abundance in Sheema without market. He then talked to a friend, Mr. Nuwarimpa, and the two joined hands to form NUMA (an acronym from the names ‘Nuwarimpa’ and ‘Matsiko’). He then fabricated the first feeds machine and later a millet machine.

They rented a small room behind his workshop belonging to Mr. David Nuwagaba. Together, they only produced 100kgs per night, which they would market the following day. After 1 year, his friend Nuwarimpa decided to specialize in fabrication and left Matsiko in food processing.

Mr. Matsiko then decided to transfer the business to nearby town called Kemikyera and later Kabwohe town where he installed simple machines in a wooden shelter with a loan from Uganda Gatsby Trust –an organization used to bring together small scale millers. Unfortunately, one year later, the then factory premises went ablaze and most of the materials perished in it. He was supported by his wife through her small secretarial bureau savings and friends and registered Numa Feeds Ltd as Liability Company to be able to get some loans from Centenary Bank since he couldn’t get enough from Muhame Village Bank.

Two years later as Mr. Matsiko was travelling to Kampala in a bus, he was given chloroform and found himself in Mengo Hospital. All his money had been stolen. After these setbacks he was at a crossroads.

In spite of the above setbacks, Mr. Matsiko did not grieve. He attended a training in entrepreneurship skills with Enterprise Uganda in 2004. He didn’t have a specific vision, but after training he turned his idea into a vision. “He learnt a lot from Enterprise Uganda. The Buddy groups, continuous workshops, and networking all did it for him.”

In 2006, together with other 4 Ugandans, was nominated to attend the 10th Summit of Young Entrepreneurship on a ticket of persistence where he learnt a lot of skills and networking.

In 2009, he was invited to attend an executive programme on inclusive Agribusiness fighting poverty hunger and malnutrition by the World Bank Institute in Washington DC. This training and sharing of experiences with participants from 150 countries equipped him with knowledge to streamline his business activities. It became clear to him that, “Working with the community was gateway to success.”

In 2011, Mr. Robert was invited to share the same experience at Hotel Africana during the GEW (Global Entrepreneurship Week) and this opened opportunities to penetrate to large supermarkets which was impossible for him earlier.

Mr. Matsiko later won a grant from USADF for capacity building and training the small holder farmers to facilitate Numa to easily access to quality raw materials.

The partnerships with smallholder farmers, has benefited farmers as their food and financial security and has significantly improved their household level. In return, Numa has been able to attain a reliable supply chain for raw materials.

Agribusiness initative trust (aBi) also came in to support Numa and it's farmers in promoting and marketing of maize and soya beans through establishing demonstration farms and supply of inputs among others, all these activities have greatly uplifted contributed to the growth of Numa from a small-scale level to a Medium agribusiness entity. The supply chain has grown from the initial 4 groups to 300 groups with 15,000 farmers and its work forth growing from 2 to 130 people of which 80% are women.

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