Our story

from a personal drive into a succesful innovation

Vertical and Micro Gardening (VMG) is a home-grown Ugandan urban farming enterprise that primarily designs, manufactures, and distributes Vertical Farms. First launched as a project 2014, VMG grew into a social enterprise in February 2017.

VMG came into existence through the determination of CEO Paul Matovu to help the poor and underprivileged attain food security. Having witnessed first-hand the struggles of his own environment, he designed the Vertical Farm 1.0, a ground-breaking innovation that is now VMG’s flag-ship product. With this pioneering design, VMG makes agriculture a viable micro enterprise for people in urban areas.

Our vision

is to transform the agricultural sector on the African continent for the good

the challenges

In order to transform the agricultural sector on the African continent for the good, VMG identified several challenges Uganda is facing:

Population growth
& urbanization

Population growth in combination with urbanization put a large pressure on rural farmers and ecosystems to increase the yield and arable land.

pesticides & fertilizers

Amongst others, this pressure leads to an overly use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides. This leads to water pollution and soil degradation, which in the long term will lower yield and increase further the need for arable land. Another consequence is end-consumers taking in exceeded concentration of chemicals, which have long term negative health effects.

organic waste

Every month in Kampala 28 000 tons of waste is collected to be landfilled, and another 42 000 tons is illegally dumped. This stream consists of almost 90% of organic waste, which in landfills leads to significant methane emissions reinforcing climate change.

market dependency

Low-income communities in cities are very dependent on the market and market prices for vegetables. This leads to high expenditures on or a low intake of fresh vegetables, giving rise to nutritional deficiencies.

climate variability

Because of climate change and climate variability, agricultural supply from rural areas becomes less and less reliable. This has a domino effect on people in all walks of life, but particularly so for the most vulnerable: women, children and the elderly. For example, lack of basic food and water is often cause for domestic violence within deprived households, with women and children comprising the largest targets of such.

our solution

VMG’s innovative solution to these issues comes in the form of our flagship product: the Vertical Farm 1.0

Why the vertical farm?

REDUCED PRESSURE ON RURAL FARMERS TO MEET NATION WIDE AGRICULTURAL DEMAND​

In general, the concept of vertical farming in the city has the potential to strongly reduce the pressure on rural farmers, as significant amounts of vegetables can be produced in urban environments.

increased food security

The vertical farm in your backyard can provide you with healthy veggies all year round. The production is way less dependent on climate variability and supply risks, which secures a steady production of vegetables.

Pest reduction and localisation

Because of the dispersed small-scale production, people owning a vertical farm have way less chance on pests, can do pest control way more easily, and therefore do not have to eat vegetables full of pesticides.

Recycling organic waste

The vermi-composting chamber in the heart of the Vertical Farm 1.0, transforms organic waste into fertilizer through the use of earthworms. In this way, organic waste is recycled and inorganic fertilizers are eliminated.

high return on investment

The Vertical Farm can provide a means to make an additional income through the products it produces: (1) vegetables, (2) earthworms, and (3) organic fertilizer. Current owners of the vertical farm earn around 1 000 000 UGX on average per planting cycle (which is 4,5 months on average). If truly used in a strategic tool, income can go up to 4 000 000 UGX per planting cycle. Therefore, if the investment cost is bridged, it can be a tool to provide marginalized and vulnerable communities with an additional income.

Empowerment Low-Income & Vulnerable Communities

Whether the farm is used to produce financial benefits or healthy food, it is an ecological and innovative agribusiness, able to contribute to eradication of poverty and hunger while promoting women’s entrepreneurship and empowerment. That is why VMG is working on several social impact projects together with NGO’s.

In an overarching sense, the Vertical Farm forms a holistic solution to many of the issues the world is facing today. It is the cornerstone of a transition to a more sustainable and inclusive agricultural landscape. We stand by our customers and communities across time and seasons. Delve into understanding our work on grassroots in detail here

Our Team

Management

Paul Matovu

founder & ceo

Paul is the brain behind the VMG innovation and has been at the helm of fundraising and marketing the product in Africa, Europe and USA. Paul provides overall strategic direction, represents VMG at high level forums, and develops the project management plan and monitors performance targets. Paul is also in charge of quality assurance, reporting to partners and other stakeholders, and human resources. 

Ameerah Anathallee​

Director of International Affairs & Coordinator volunteering programme

After obtaining her MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management from the University of Oxford, Ameerah worked, at first, as an independent consultant for VMG. Mid 2018, Ameerah was promoted to the role of the Director of International affairs — a role that she holds in conjunction with her position as a European Project Manager in Marseille. Having raised, over these four years of consolidated team-work, almost a quarter of the total budget of our social enterprise, she also oversees short and long-term resource allocation and prepares regular project reports for management and audits.

Eddie Kayinda

Business Development & Lead business advisor

Eddie conducts market research and segmentation, business advisory and training to the farmers. He is also charged with making business case scenarios and cost benefit models, deciphering viable marketing options and ensuring we acquire sufficient sales to keep it afloat.

Staff

Joanitta Najjuuko

EXTENSION OFFICER​

Bernard Matovu

Logistics officer

Maria Naiga

extension officer

Elizabeth Nabbowa

Administrative assistant

Johnan Mwesigwa​

MARKETING INTERN ​

Tamale Solomon

Community officer

Yiga Vianey Andrew

Production manager

Earnest Bbaale

legal and parnerships

Muwaza Andrew

Production Supervisor

Remote Volunteer Program

Ekatarina
Borodina

Digital marketing strategy

Meike
Langenberg

content management & communication design

Arthur
Lemasson

Digital Marketing

Mohammed
Moqbel

video edition and content creation

Simren
Sekhon

Diversification fundraising

Felicity
Smith

graphic editor

Nancy
Otyang

Fundraising

Michelle
Hallemans

Digital marketing

Our Partners