The Uganda Small Scale Industries Association (USSIA) has been designated as a focal implementation organization for the One Village One Product (OVOP) programme spear-headed by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives.
The program implemented in partnership with International Cooperation Agency is anchored on the fact that every village is endowed with unique resources, which if converted into unique products through value-addition, and marketed nationally and internationally, would sustainably improve the livelihoods of the rural poor.
According to the USSIA executive secretary John Walugembe, USSIA will offer a range of Business Development Services to beneficiary groups as well as help coordinate private sector participation in the programme.
"This is in recognition of the organization's efforts in promoting Small and Medium Enterprise development, skills development and Value addition, we shall benchmark on this trust to cause positive change among working communities," he said in an interview last week.
OVOP was popularly adopted in Japan in 1980's and 1990's where it had successfully created an economic development model for rural areas. The objective of OVOP was to achieve regional economic development through adding value to locally available resources, through processing, quality control and marketing.
The initiative requires people to take up a product or an industry unique to their region and cultivate it into a nationally, or even globally, accepted one. It emphasizes the need of the people to recognize the locally available resources in their community and develop them into globally marketable products by adding values to them.
Amelia Kyambadde, the trade minister said that in implementing this programme, USSIA will supporting value addition of locally available raw materials, facilitating transfer of skills and technology, promoting the use of locally produced products, promoting and improving market access for locally produced products, enhancing income generation opportunities and wealth creation for local communities, creating employment in the rural areas.
As a leading organization in the promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises and small industries, USSIA has implemented a range of similar initiatives in the past aimed at providing capacity building for enterprises like; the Small and Medium Enterprise component of the Uganda Intergrated Programme by the United Nations Development Organization (UNIDO), Skills training with the support of GIZ (GTZ/PEVOT- Programme for Employment Oriented Vocational Training to mention, but a few.
The body has a membership of over 2,000 members spread in 27 districts of Uganda. At the moment USSIA is also working with the Chamber of Skilled Crafts and Small Businesses of Cologne (HWK) in SME development.