In Summary

  • For that, Mr Ngobi said there is need for deliberate organisation ahead of the commercial operation in March 2017 or else the factory could turn into a white elephant.
  • The chairperson TETFGCU, Ms Omeke Justine Didi, said the factory will solve market issues in the area.

Kampala- The state minister for Cooperatives, Mr Frederick Ngobi, has expressed worry over Teso sub-region’s ability to supply the new fruit factory saying the investment will go to waste if farmers fail to provide enough fruits.
Speaking to the members of the Teso Tropical Fruit Growers Cooperative Union (TETFGCU) in Soroti District last week, Mr Ngobi said: “This is a huge investment and it will be a big embarrassment if the factory starts operations and within a short time it collapses due to insufficient supply of fruits.”

The government, through Uganda Development Corporation (UDC) in collaboration with the Korean International Cooperation Agency, has invested Shs24b in the construction of a fruit processing factory in Arapai sub-county, Soroti District, the Soroti Fruit Factory.

Teso sub-region is home to an estimated 2.5 million people.

Critics have noted that fruit farmers in Teso may fail to sustain the huge supply required because the country may not have the capacity to produce enough fruits.

According to a senior economist at UDC, also in charge of the construction of the factory, Ms Yudaya Kadondi, once the operations begin, the fruit farmers will be expected to supply a capacity of six metric tonnes of oranges daily.

The factory, according to Ms Kadondi, will be operating 16 hours a day in two shifts of 8 hours each.

For that, Mr Ngobi said there is need for deliberate organisation ahead of the commercial operation in March 2017 or else the factory could turn into a white elephant.

He said: “I am urging you to get organised so that we can make good on this deal.”

In the meantime, a team of experts is leaving for South Korea this month to conduct an inspection of the factory equipment before it is shipped into the country in November.

The chairperson TETFGCU, Ms Omeke Justine Didi, said the factory will solve market issues in the area.

iladu@ug.nationmedia.com