UGANDA – The Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) a parastatal company wholly owned by the government of Uganda has commissioned the Nyakihanga Fruit Processing Facility worth UGX 1.4bn (US$380,000), aimed to add value through production of fruit juice to reduce post-harvest losses.

In addition to that, it’s part of the Institute’s initiative of taking technology to the people in accordance to the NDP 2 Plan to industrialize the nation.

The processing facility is an establishment of the Nyakihanga Fruits Vegetable Growers Co-operative Society Limited established in 2016 majoring in orange and pineapple fruits.

The factory having a capacity to process 1,000 liters of pineapple juice per hour, from 700 pineapple fruits, will be supported by 3,222 pineapple farmers in the region producing 80,000 pineapples everyday during peak season.

Mr.Bernard Mugure, the cooperative chairperson indicated that one pineapple fruit is capable of producing 3-500 ml bottles of juice with each bottle being sold at UGX 2,000.

The primary objective of UIRI is to carry out scientific and industrial research, develop competitive technical services, improve the capacity and competence of indigenous entrepreneurs to embark on sustainable industrial production, to produce high quality marketable products, for the benefit of Uganda’s citizens.

The UIRI Director, Prof Charles Kwesiga in his remarks said that, through industrialization and value addition farmers gain more profit from their produce.

“Adding value means that you are moving away from the open market approach where you just sell products straight from the farm.”

“We have the capacity and knowledge to make sure that what we are producing is of high quality,” he added.

The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye said that the ministry will keep training the factory staff to ensure quality and sustainability

The facility was commissioned by the First Lady of Uganda, Hon Janet Kataha Museveni which comes a year after the US$13.4 million Teso Fruit Factory in Soroti District was officially opened.

The First Lady advised the farmers to maximize the regional market in South Sudan and Democratic Republic of the Congo who come to Uganda to buy Pineapples, thus the association should utilize the facility to produce quality juice at competitive prices.

Teso Fruit Factory has a capacity of processing between 12,000 tonnes and 25,000 tonnes of mangoes and oranges annually.

Subsequently, production of fruits is expected to increase from an estimated 100,000 tonnes per year to 150,000 tonnes in order to meet the new demand.

The fruit processing plant is an initiative of the government, with the assistance of Korea International Cooperation Agency, working in partnership with the Teso Tropical Fruit Growers Cooperative Union.