UGANDA – The Uganda Development Corporation (UDC) in partnership with the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) have commissioned a US$12.88 million (Ushs 48 billion) fruit processing factory.
The Soroti Fruit Factory, financed by UDC and KOICA, will be processing orange and mango juice and has future plans of expanding production lines to include a variety of fruit juices, reports New Vision.
“We have the capacity to process watermelon, passion fruits, pineapple, and apple but due to limited supply, we started with oranges and mangoes that are available,” said Douglas Ndawula, chief executive officer, Soroti fruit factory.
Currently, the facility has an installed capacity of producing 96 metric tonnes of mango and orange juice per day.
The fully-fledged turnkey plant processing both juice and concentrate will have an annual production output of 650,000 tonnes of oranges and 25,000 tonnes of mangoes.
Speaking during the inauguration ceremony, Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni, hailed South Korean government for the US$7.4 million investment in establishing the fruit factory.
The fruit processing plant is an initiative of the government in partnership with Korea International Cooperation Agency expected to improve fruit production in Teso region.
With the region’s estimated production of 600,000 metric tonnes of fruits per year, the factory will mobilise farmers into producer organisations to consolidate its supply chain.
“This in turn will transform the livelihood of fruit farmers in the region as they are guaranteed a market and through Teso Tropical Cooperative Union (TEFCU) they can negotiate better terms of trade than selling for export through border towns,” said chairperson Of Soroti Fruits Limited, Ms Josephine Okot.
She added that the plant will manufacture juice under the brand Teju Juice in unique spouts of 200mls.
“I encourage farmers in Teso to join cooperatives so that we sell at the price we will negotiate with the factory. Without cooperatives, we will not benefit,” added Jorem Opian, the chairman of the famers in Teso.
UDC as the development and investment arm of government, holds a 20% stake in the investment working in partnership with the Teso Tropical Fruit Growers Cooperative Union.
Uganda Development Corporation also rolled out its 10-year investment plan that will focus on agro-manufacturing and areas where private sector would not ordinarily invest.
Construction of the plant began in April 2015 and was scheduled for completion in May 2016 with commercialisation set to begin in November 2016 but however experienced delays due to financing challenge.