Tongo Essentials comes from the name of the location where the the UIRI-CSIR Essential Oil Pilot Project site


The main focus of the Association is:

  1. To promote the production of essential oils and natural plant products in Uganda.
  2. To provide an organization through which the members of the Association may be drawn into close relationship.
  3. To arrange regular meetings of the Association.
  4. To appoint committees for particular purposes as required.
  5. To provide a unified approach for the industry in such things as industrial matters, Government regulations and standards.
  6. To establish funds for carrying out the objects of the Association.
  7. To assist with the co-ordination of research into essential oils and allied natural plant extracts and to disseminate research findings to members.
  1. Leveraging Emerging Opportunities in the Global Essential Oil Industry
  2. Uptake of Raw Materials-Production and Processing of Biomass into Essential Oil
  3. Development of the Local Economy and Entrepreneurship
  4. Export Promotion and Import Substitution
  5. Job Creation
  6. Rolling out Commercial Cultivation of Aromatic Crops to sustain Processing of Essential Oil
Albert N. Katuramu is an agronomist and a rural development practitioner with over 25 years of working experience.

The founding of EOPAU is premised on the realization that there was urgent need for resuscitation of the fizzled out essential oil sector development activities following the close out of the essential oils project in March 2021. It is important to note that the UIRI-CSIR Essential Oils Pilot Project was one of the flagship projects under the auspices of the 2002 Uganda –South Africa Bilateral Trade Agreement.

Albert’s fulltime engagement in the private sector started off in August 2022 when he showcased typical essential oils development activities at the 28th Source of the Nile-National Agricultural Show in Jinja. Albert has since been involved in mobilising key stakeholders towards the development the essential oils sector in Uganda. In his current role as the Technical Advisor of EOPAU, he is attending to aspects of local economy development, interpretation of existing policy regime to design approaches that may enable impactful agro-industrial development initiatives, facilitation of private sector engagements in agricultural development, program design and implementation, as well as new knowledge documentation, management and dissemination, monitoring and evaluation, encourage multi-stakeholder engagements to provide a platform for tailored coaching and business incubation.

Prior to founding EOPAU in August 2022, he served on the 10-year UIRI-CSIR Essential Oils Pilot Project at UIRI as the Projects Manager: Agronomy. The project was undertaken in collaboration with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research of South Africa (CSIR). The ten years at UIRI were an invaluable platform for Albert where he developed a robust and resilient attitude towards withstanding challenges, assume responsibilities beyond measure and delegation, and lead teams within the available means and resources. This grounding has enriched him with novel management and leadership skills.

In 2014, he founded Precision Farming Systems (PFS) Ltd a Farm Management and Consulting Company specializing in provision of farm advisory services and designing rural development projects.

Previously, he worked as an Agricultural Officer in Kabarole District; as an Institutional Development Officer at Joint Effort to Save the Environment (JESE), where he is now a board member; worked as a Farm Manager of Kitagweta Farm Section under Kaweri Coffee Plantation in Mubende (where he led a team that established over 180 acres with coffee trees); as a Farm Manager at Hill Farm in Nyeri/Kenya that was under management of TROPICAL Farm Management Ltd and as a Research Assistant at International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Albert’s carrier as an Agronomist started in July 1998 in Mpwedde Parish, Kasangombe Sub-County now current Nakaseke District in the greater Luwero Area. He was one of the two agronomists that General Caleb Akandwanaho (the Current Chairman of Operation Wealth Creation) hired just after writing his final exam from the agriculture school at Makerere University.

During this time General Akandwanaho was preparing to sit exams in order to get a formal qualification of the national education curriculum. Albert upon seeing “this man of means”, his boss, sleeping in a tent in a compound outside and burning the midnight candle while preparing for exams left on him an indelible experience that has over the years created a lasting sense of a plebeian in him.

The coffee rehabilitation project was started by General Akandwanaho in 1998 was a gesture of appreciation to the community that volunteered to carry him for first aid after being injured during the Bukalabi battle of February 1983. Albert worked with the Bukalabi Community to rehabilitate coffee trees that had been neglected during 1980-1985 civil war. The project had a savings and credit component, an experience that might have grounded Albert in mastering SACCO matters. By the time he left the service of UIRI, he was the Chairman of UIRI Staff SACCO.

Albert is increasingly interested in the nexus between climate change and the transition towards changing food production systems to assist partners for farmers develop and implement climate-smart and climate-proofed programmes and projects to help ensure resilience.

Albert is always keen on making valuable contributions in scholarly debates and practical field endeavors that may contribute to advancing national development.

Albert holds an MBA in International Business, a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Administration and Management and has attended a multitude of agronomy and agribusiness related courses attained from Africa, Europe and the Middle East and demonstrates a clear understanding of the NDP-3, Uganda’s national development blue print.

Due to the professional demands of his new role, he is enrolling to the Society of Cosmetic Scientists of UK and the International Center for Aroma Trade Studies (ICATS) to keep up to speed in the new forte of cosmetic science.

Albert is married and blessed with two children. He is a member Toro Golf Club and when he has left the city for his country home in Fort-Portal, you are most likely going to find him either on the green or at the counter in the club house.

At the time this interview was being conducted for his profile, Albert was making last minute logistical preparations to attend the Uganda- South Africa Trade, Investment and Tourism Summit. The Summit is taking place on 27th February and 28th February 2023 at Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg South Africa.

Following the close out of the UIRI-CSIR Essential Oils Pilot Project, Albert mobilised his former colleagues, the scientists that were on the UIRI-CSIR Essential Oils Pilot project and they have teamed up with farmers that have since established aromatic crops and a community essential oils enterprise (Tongo Essentials) is gaining traction.

It is the products (essential oils packed in 10ml bottles) from this community enterprise that is going to be showcased in the upcoming UG-SA Summit in Johannesburg.

In EOPAU’s Draft-Strategic Plan, the plan is to establish a zonal field station in each of the 10 agro-ecological zones of Uganda. Each field station shall have a central processing unit (distillery), a mother garden and a nursery where seedlings with the correct genotype shall be availed to emerging essential oil farmers. It is where experimental field trials and studies shall be conducted on new essential oil crops for new knowledge.

The ground breaking ceremony of the site hosting the “Lake Victoria Crescent” Field Station located in Luwero and home of Tongo Essentials is slated to take place someday in April 2023.



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