David Wabukye, a communication lecturer at Uganda Christian University, Livingstone International University, and UMCAT School of Journalism in Mbale city was one of those affected by the lockdown. However, Wabukye reorganized himself and resorted to online food vending for survival.
“Food Sitoowa” has fast become a household name in Mbale city and its neighboring
districts. When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in the country in 2020,
president, Yoweri Museveni announced a total lockdown of the country as part of
the containment measures.
Schools, transport, and all kinds of social gatherings were among the sectors
affected by the lockdown. The lockdown rendered my Ugandans including teachers
and lecturers redundant, and the majority without a source of income.
David Wabukye, a communication
lecturer at Uganda Christian University, Livingstone
International University, and UMCAT School of Journalism in Mbale city was one
of those affected by the lockdown.
Wabukye reorganized himself and
resorted to online food
vending for survival. He established “Food Sitoowa” through which he sells foodstuffs to different people in Mbale city,
the neighboring districts, and as far as Kampala.
Initially, Wabukye would market the foodstuff
and get orders through social media pages like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram.
He has however set up a website “Food Sitoowa.com” and developed an app Food Sitoowa, which is accessible through the
Google play store on a smartphone to increase access by his customers.
According to Wabukye, he ventured into this
business after schools and
tertiary institutions closed in March 2020. Wabukye, who is still contemplating whether to return to the lecture rooms or continue with his online food vending business, says that the business is lucrative, adding that anyone looking for money may not wish to go
back to the lecture room. He has been lecturing for ten years.
The Birth of Food Sitoowa
According to Wabukye, when the president announced the shutdown, he
suspended both public and private transport.
He also asked people to stay in their homes with the exception of essential
workers accredited by the relevant government bodies and agencies.
According to Wabukye, he realized that his retail shop wasn’t giving him
enough money due to limited customers resulting from the movement restrictions. He recalls
selling only Shillings 700 in one of his sales during the lockdown unlike the
Shillings 150,000 he
could make before the pandemic.
He decided to abandon the retail shop and explore the online business
where he would market foodstuff through social media platforms to potential
clients largely starting with friends and acquittances. To Wabukye, using the online platforms to expand his business was very simple given his
background in Information and Communication Technology-ICT.
According to Wabukye, when he ventured into the online food business, he realized how middlemen were
oppressing farmers by offering them cheap
prices for their produce. He, however, says that his platform has since helped
eliminate the middlemen by offering direct contact between the farmers and consumers.
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proud that the online platform is helping to improve the welfare of farmers to get better prices for their
produce while affordable and quality
foodstuffs to his clients.
According to Wabukye, the business that started in Mbale City has graduated expanded to the Entire Eastern Uganda, Gulu, and Kampala Metropolitan areas where they charge a fee for
The online food shop has also contracted 12 Boda boda riders who do deliveries and also teamed
up with 16 farmers. Wabukye says that with all the businesses he has
ventured into, online food vending has been the
most profitable and yielded positive results for him.
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has not stepped on the class since the government reopened higher institutions of
learning on November 1st, 2021, saying that he is still at crossroads whether to return to
class or not.
He says that even if he was to choose to return to class, he still needs time to expand his
business to the level where everyone who wants foodstuffs will just go online.
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Wabukye now wants every person to venture into a
side hustle to survive in times of emergencies like pandemics.
Esther Namutosi, a resident of Mbale City who has been shopping
from Food Sitoowa from the time they started, says that one thing she likes about them is the quality of foodstuff and the trust they have.
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Francis Wasagami, resides in Kampala and has been shopping with Food Sitoowa. According to Wasagami, the timely delivery of his orders surprised him for a Ugandan online
business. He said that despite making an advance
payment, food sitoowa delivers quality and
the right amounts of food as ordered by the clients.
Kirinya Ayubu is the URN Bureau Chief of Elgon/Bukedi Sub Regions . He holds a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communication from Islamic University in Uganda and a Diploma in Computer Science and Information Technology from the same University.