By Agatha N. Biira
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that a person eat at least 400 g or five portions of fruit per day. But recent studies show that there is low consumption of fruits and vegetables among adults in Uganda. This is a narrative that Elvis Kawumba hopes to change.
Elvis Kawumba is a third-year student of Information and Technology at Uganda Christian University (UCU). After completing his exams for the Easter semester in April, Kawumba thought of something he would do to earn some extra cash while on holiday.
When the Trinity semester started in May, he established a fruit business with the aim of improving the health of students within the UCU community. “The fruit business is about trying to get students to live healthy with at least one fruit to supplement their meals. I also wanted to earn some money since I am on holiday, “Kawumba said.”
Starting this business was not really hard for him. Now doing his internship with the University ICT (Information Communication Technology) Services (UIS) at UCU, it is easier to juggle the business and the training.
Kawumba sells fruit cups containing different fruits such as watermelons, pineapples, mangoes, jackfruits, tangerines, oranges, and apples. He wakes up every day at 5 in the morning to package the fruits before setting off for his internship, and by 7 am, he is there. Each fruit cup goes for Shs. 2000. The fruit cup is packaged according to one’s preference.
However, just like any other start-up, he has faced some challenges ranging from the high prices of products on the market to an unstable market. “There are some bad days when students don’t buy, and, of course, fruits are perishable, which results in losses,” he said.
“It is also difficult to make deliveries since the campus is quite big and hostels are far, which makes it a bit hard for me. But, I will still try to get the packages to their destinations,” Kawumba added.
Kawumba has utilized the knowledge acquired as a student of Information and Technology to digitalize his fruit business. He opened pages across most social networks like @fruitarian-s on Twitter and Instagram as a way of marketing his products. Besides being stationed at the university main canteen, going digital has increased his visibility and market.
He hopes to continue with this business for a while even when he resumes for the next semester. “By doing this business, I have come to realize that it’s not only the university community that is lacking in diet but also the people outside UCU. This needs to change as most of these people need to understand the importance and my mission is to educate them with well researched facts about the benefits of eating these fruits daily,” Kawumba said.
On the idea of students’ businesses, Kawumba says it is important for students to startup up businesses while still in school because it gets them exposed to the world out there where they are headed. “When you start when you are still in school, you envision where you will be in the next years. Basically, it gets them prepared for the next step in there lives ahead of their different career paths,” Kawumba said.
“I highly recommend this positively for students to get out there and put there creativity for economic gain as at the end of the day will get them understand and learn from mistakes and challenge themselves too.”