byMaarten Hermus via web
In October I left the Netherlands to start for Holland GreenTech (www.hollandgreentech.com) as a Young Expert together with my colleague Victoria, also a Young Expert. I was very excited to go and this ended up useful. The first 2 weeks I used this excitement in meeting team Rwanda, meeting our seed supplier RijkZwaan in Tanzania and then driving by car from Kigali to Kampala. Great route to drive but also a great way to physically execute our strategy: Holland GreenTech is going to Uganda! Let the fun begin, thankfully Victoria arranged already a place to work and sleep, now let’s create a business.
Since then I wake up in Kampala. Kampala is a buzzing city: everybody is in business, everywhere there is music and there is always traffic. Feels good to be here, people are welcome and interested to know what this mzungu is going to do. Half the time we are not in the city though. We deal in horticulture and this happens, mostly, outside the city. The farmers we visit differ a lot. Sometimes they are small and mainly interested in better seeds and training to improve their production, sometimes they are big and have foreign investments and are looking for a reliable one-stop-shop for their greenhouse project. Nice thing is, they are both our client!
We are setting up a distributor company and partner with premium Dutch horticultural suppliers. RijkZwaan vegetable seeds, Bosman van Zaal greenhouses, Hoogendoorn climate systems, Koppert biological pest control, Holland Farming organic plant supplements, the list grows. By this we give these companies access to the Ugandan market and we give farmers in Uganda access to these technologies. Developing the next step of horticulture commercially. I dare to say I am yet to discover a better example of aid & trade.
We had a very nice challenge to formalize a company in Uganda’s web of government bodies, bureaucratic impossibilities, endless forms and corruption. It feels like pushing for three months against a physical wall of bureaucracy. We had some frustration and some laughs but managed by being cunning yet polite, since January we are in business.
Supported by our directors and colleagues in Rwanda we are able to develop quick. We’re making expansion plans already and having a lot of fun working on a brand new Holland GreenTech branche. Also I try to see more of Uganda for work and pleasure and trying out Kampala’s bars for some nice nights. I think I like it here in Uganda. I’ll try to post something every now and then, but I use twitter more often. Follow @maartenhermus and @VDS_ACAMPO_BV