The Gulu Agricultural Development Company (GADC) was established in Uganda in the aftermath of the LRA-instigated war which devastated the Northern region for nearly 20 years. Under the direction of owner Bruce Robertson and with a small capital injection, the company revived and took over the COO-ROM ginnery in Gulu to establish agricultural buying and processing operations which have grown organically ever since. The company has expanded to include a second ginnery in Kitgum and is currently active in the cotton, sesame, oil milling and maize milling businesses, while also participating in the chili and sunflower markets. GADC’s
products are sold on national and international markets. GADC has been profitable in every year of operation as evidenced by audited financial statements and achieved a turnover of nearly USD 10m in 2015. The company employs over 400 permanent and casual employees, nearly all of whom are Ugandan nationals. GADC certifies farmers through Fair for Life for fair trade and Control Union (NL) for organic certification.
An integral part of GADC’s business is its unique field network system. The company sources its products from over 80,000 smallholder farmers across Northern Uganda by pre-financing a network of community-based entrepreneurs known as buying agents. Through this field network and its partnerships, GADC additionally provides agricultural extension services and training for farmers on a variety of topics including agronomy, organic principles, post-harvest handling, numeracy, and basic financial literacy. Across both operations, GADC currently provides training to 75,000 farmers.
GADC is eager and willing to engage in public-private partnerships to improve the communities and markets it works in through sustainable and impactful concepts.
GADC’s business has, thus far, been based on developing agricultural value chains in the post-war areas of Northern Uganda where a significant number of aspiring farmers remained in IDP camps for decades. This idle time contributed to losses in agricultural capital and knowledge.
Therefore, a significant portion of GADC’s extension work has been devoted to training and re-training farmers on good agricultural practices and farming as a business. Since 2009, the company has worked with Danida, Mercy Corps, UNDP, and GIZ to help build this capacity in distinct geographic areas and value chains throughout this region.
However, GADC realized through the company’s extensive history in the cotton sector, that the company would not survive processing cotton alone. Similarly, effectively supporting the grower base requires advocating for diversification. Thus, GADC began trading in sesame, chilies, sunflower and maize.
Where is Gulu Agricultural Development Company (GADC)