Najjuma’s spices business was inspired by her love for cooking 

When Norah Najjuma was young, she enjoyed cooking.

“On weekends especially Sundays I would be the one charged with preparing special dishes for the family,” says the 31-year-old graduate of a diploma in Business Administration.

What made her cooking unique, she says, were the natural spices that she used.

She says she abhorred artificial food spices because they “kill the real taste of food.”

When she started school, she did not know that she would somehow end up doing something connected to food.

“Yes I was a good cook but I did not want to be a chef. I wanted to be a nurse because I believed they save people,” she says.

After her O-levels at Kibibi Secondary School in Butambala district, she could not pursue her dream course because she did not perform well in the science subjects.

She pursued arts at A-level and later enrolled for a diploma in Business Administration at one of the private education institutions.

After the two-year course, she got a job as a sales executive in one of the local banks.

“The pay was low and the work was demanding. I realized that this is not something I could do for a very long time,” she says.

After two years at the bank, she quit to go into self employment.

“I made some research and realized that there was a gap in the spices business. So I decided to venture into that area,” Najjuma says.

Spices business

She however admits that her entry into the spice business was partly motivated by her early love for preparing delicious food.

“I realized that most of the locally prepared food lacks the authentic taste because it is not spiced well,” she says.

With Shs 1.5 million savings from the bank job, she embarked on her dream business in 2018. She used part of the money to pay for a stall in Kyaliwajjala market while the rest, she used it to buy the spices.

She says she buys most of her spices from a Tanzanian famed for being good at making them.

She also has farmers who supply her with other organic spices.

Her spices are made from natural plants and herbs and most are in powder form. She also sells spices in their unprocessed form.

Her main products are ginger powder, cinnamon, red chilli, pilau masala, tea masala, beef masala, rosemary and other spices.

Her busiest days are Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays when most people buy spices in preparation for the weekend. Restaurants and other catering businesses form the bulk of her customers.

“One some of these days, I earn very good money that enables me to increase my capital base and to meet my other demands,” she says.

On average, she says, she saves at least Shs 700,000 from her business per month. She says the money has helped her supplement her husband’s income.

She has now expanded her business and runs two stalls in the market.

She says the key to her success is quality and the way she treats customers.

“I listen to the concerns of my customers and I adjust accordingly. But I ensure that I stock only quality products,” she says.

She says she has learnt how to make some of the spices something that has saved her costs.

“For instance with ginger powder, I have an industrial grade blender that I use to crush dried ginger into powder,” she says.

Her dream is to become the leading maker and supplier of organic spices in Uganda and the region.

“If God gives me life, I will realize my dream,” she says.


The biggest challenge so far are the hard economic times that have led to reduced sales.

“People don’t have money and this impacts on my business. There are days when I hardly make any money,” Najjuma says.

Secondly, she says the proliferation of cheap foreign spices has affected her business. She says that the artificial spices are manufactured in labs and in the end may have adverse effects on the health of the people.


She advises young people to be hardworking and not to give up in the face of challenges.

“The problem with many young people is when they try out something and it fails, they give up. They should not,” she says.

Najjuma also implores young people to have focus and be financially disciplined if they want to make it in life.

“Many young people once they make some money they blow it on luxuries and not things that helps them improve their incomes. This has to stop,” she says.

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