Uganda: Investing in Sanitary Towels Can Be Profitable
By Dorothy Nakaweesi
Society right now is coping with the available traditional means, because to many people sanitary towels are a luxury. Yet this could be a lucrative investment venture that can make you prosper because of its demand.
Experts say the idea for production and marketing of sanitary towels is one that can make one prosper because the demand is huge.
Sanitary towels are on high demand, especially in urban areas. Once made, they can be supplied to supermarkets, retail shops, hospitals, dispensaries, educational instructions and clinics. Demand has stretched to rural areas due to rising standards of living.
Experts say sanitary towels are a necessity. The total investment cost is estimated at $40,000 (Shs145m) a year, with a production capacity of 200 packets per day.
The project is expected to yield a net profit of 48 per cent and payback period of seven months.
Cotton yarn is knitted into loose fabric tube. The tube is then cut into required pieces of absorbent cotton with the ends of the towels tied by thread.
Mr John Musajjakawa, the Uganda Investment Authority senior investment officer, said: “Raw materials are locally available and equipment can be imported from China and India.”
In an interview with Prosper Magazine, Mr Charles Ocici, the executive director at Enterprise Uganda, advised the private sector with intension to invest in this business to look at sourcing the raw materials locally which are cheap and environmentally friendly.
“It is very important to look at the available products on the market locally and abroad if possible. This will help you to produce a product which is unique and affordable to your target customers,” Mr Ocici notes.
He adds that in order to achieve this one has to do a lot of research which will enable them to come up with a low cost product and this will change people’s culture and perception.
He says it’s an expensive venture especially when it comes to research and in this case one has to lookout for joint venture with those who have been in the business before.
Mr Ocici says that research is costly but this is where government is needed to come in to give a hand.
Fourteen years ago, Mr Moses Kiiza Musaazi, from Makerere University, ventured into production of sanitary pads, an innovation he did using local materials available within the community.
Today, the Makapads are being distributed in schools across the country in both urban and rural areas.
Ms Betty Kyakuwa, the communications officer at College of Engineering, Design, Arts and Technology, the department where these pads are produced, said: “We distribute the pads to upcountry schools and each pack of three-pad costs just Shs500.”
The 15-year old Makapads investment has achieved some success as it locally supplies pads to more than 40 schools, and also exports them to Sierra Leon.
Afripads is another company which has come out to invest in reusable sanitary towels under the brand name ‘So Sure’. This means one buys a pack once in many months and only has to clean and use them again.
Mr Musajjakawa said: “There are a number of government programmes to facilitate industrialists.”
He shares that one such institution is Private Sector Foundation Uganda that has boosted the capacity and development of business plans.”