Somalian woman entrepreneur establishes Atika Sugar Factory in Northern Uganda

UGANDA – The President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni has inaugurated the multibillion Atiak Sugar Factory in Northern Uganda aimed to boost production, stabilise prices of the commodity and create enough stock for export.

The establishment of the facility follows a feasibility study on potential of sugarcane growing in the area, conducted by a Somali entrepreneur and owner of the company Amina Morghe Hersi, in 2016.

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After a successful analysis, Amina who is the largest shareholder partnered with Uganda Development Corporation to invest in the project.

Later the government through UDC took a 10.1% ownership in the establishment, for an investment of Ush. 20b (approximately US$5.5m), reports New Vision.

The Atiak Sugar Factory has a capacity to crush 1,650 tonnes of raw cane daily producing  66 million kilogrammes of sugar annually.

“Although the factory which was set up in 2016, there had been delays of calibration by the International Organisation for Standardization to ensure the quality, safety, and efficiency of products, services, and systems,” said Amina Hersi, the Chief Executive Officer of the company.

The President highlighting the importance of the project stated that countries that have fully achieved their economic growth built their base on the principle factors of production including land, labour, capital and entrepreneurship.

“Uganda as a developing country is still lacking three elements; capital and knowledge added to entrepreneurship skills to develop further.

“My people in Uganda, if you want Uganda to develop, you must have these factors. Ensure that the natural resources – land, minerals, forests, rivers among others – are exploited,” he said.

President Museveni saluted Amina for joining sugar processors like Kakira, Kinyara and Lugazi factories, the big sugar industry players in the country.

This comes at a time when the Uganda is grappling with stockpiles of about 150,000 tonnes of Sugar following a number of hiccups hindering the export market especially in the East Africa Community.

Uganda produces 510,000 tonnes of sugar of which 360,000 tonnes is consumed locally with the surplus which has now grown to 170,000 tonnes exported within East Africa, Comesa and DR Congo.

However, much of the exports have been locked out with Tanzania and Rwanda, according to details captured in the East African Community gazette, seeking permission to import sugar outside East Africa in the 2020/21 financial year.

The move, if granted will see substantial amounts of Uganda’s exports locked out of the two countries.

Tanzania had previously completely banned sugar exports from Uganda on claims that dealers where dumping cheap sugar on its market but in May signed a deal allowing in about 20,000 tonnes.

Other export destinations such as South Sudan and DR Congo, have challenges of infrastructure and insecurity but Atiak Sugar Factory seeks to use its proximity to the countries to easily wade in the vast market.

“My people in Uganda, if you want Uganda to develop, you must have these factors. Ensure that the natural resources – land, minerals, forests, rivers among others – are exploited.”

President of Uganda – Yoweri Museveni

To ensure ample and good quality supply of cane for processing, the company will undertake an out-growers scheme program, already having allocated 3,000 acres to the 5,000 out-growers. The company creates 1,500 jobs.

Other than sugar it will also produce ethanol, animal feeds, generate power and other by-products.

Meanwhile, earlier in the year the President opened the Bukona agro-processors sugar factory and distillery at Nwoya district, established by Indian proprietor and Managing Director, Mr. Praviin Krekal.

He also launched the Green Fuel Uganda project established by the factory, which produces energy stoves that use ethanol got from processed cassava.

The e-stoves, which are ethanol powered, are deemed to be clean, safe, economic, environmentally friendly and emission free.

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