Pumpkins: Powerful, Profitable, and Full of Potential

October 16, 2017
Hina Syed

Hi, this is Fatuma! I’m the managing director of Byeffe Foods Company Limited, a food processing company in Uganda. I’m here to talk about my favorite crop -- pumpkin!

Right after graduating from college in Uganda, I was determined to have my own business. With my deep family roots in agriculture and the sector’s potential in Uganda, I saw the opportunity of starting an agribusiness. After considering several ideas, I decided on pumpkin, a profitable and very nutritious crop. It just made sense.

Today, Byeffe’s products include nutritious pumpkin mixed with soy, millet, and rice flour for porridge. Children love the porridge, and it’s giving them a vital nutrition boost. This is especially important for vulnerable households that have children who suffer from malnutrition. It puts a smile on my face to see that my products are enabling more young children in communities in Uganda  to grow up healthy and strong.

In addition to making affordable, nutritious food for the children in my country, Byeffe is helping young people to tap into the potential of agriculture for employment and growth. We are creating on- and off-farm jobs for thousands of youth just like me. We are also teaching young Ugandans  in these communities entrepreneurial skills that can enable and empower them to start their own businesses. In agriculture, there are so many opportunities that young people can tap into, and I want to help them realize that our time is now, and the place is in the agriculture sector.  

It’s been two years since I started my company, and in that time, I’ve provided more accessible and nutritious food options to communities across Uganda, created a variety of agricultural jobs that generate income for families, and empowered more people like me, especially young women, to create their own path in the agriculture industry.

This is all thanks to a very vital crop -- pumpkin. As my business grew, I needed access to a larger supply of fresh pumpkins. Feed the Future helped me mobilize more than 1,200 young farmers who are not only earning more by selling their harvest to Byffe Foods, but also allowing us to extend our reach and offer our nutrient-rich products to more consumers.

I have big dreams of expanding Byffe Foods into a well-established company that one day sells in international markets and competes with any existing, similar products. But I also wish to see more communities in Uganda become empowered, and more young people embrace agriculture as a way to make a living.  If everyone, especially young women, had a small-scale agricultural operation, they could have an income to provide for their families. I know from my own experience that agriculture is powerful, profitable, and has the potential to solve global hunger, poverty and malnutrition.

I’m excited to share the good news that Feed the Future is now launching its 4th Annual Recipe Contest, featuring pumpkin (Did I mention it’s my favorite crop?). So join us in celebrating an American fall favorite and its potential to improve lives by sharing a recipe!

Send Feed the Future your favorite recipe that features pumpkin. While you're at it, let them know what makes the recipe meaningful to you. I can’t wait to try the winning recipe!

Learn more about Fatuma and her journey to her entrepreneur success.