UGANDA – Uganda is set to commission a US$13.4 million Teso Fruit Factory in Soroti District with a capacity of processing between 12,000 tonnes and 25,000 tons of mangoes and oranges annually.

Despite a four years delay, the new factory will be commissioned by President Museveni after which operation in the factory will commence.

According to Ms Amelia Kyambadde, the minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, trials in the factory have already been done and farmers within the region set to benefit.

The Uganda Development Corporation, which is the government’s investment arm,  has said that the factory is now fully installed and all technical testing has been done as well, and the installation is ready to process fruits.

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.

Uganda Development Corporation Teso Fruit Factory’s major shareholder with 80% ownership while the Teso Tropical Fruit Growers Cooperative Union owns 20% of the factory.

The strategic construction of the factory aims at utilising the abundant availability of fruits in the district and surrounding areas.

According to the Agriculture ministry, the sub-region is known to have more than 5 million orange trees, and an estimated 1.5 million trees of mangoes.

Subsequently, upon commencement of operation in the factory, 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.

Preliminary information reveal that the plant will start with a single shift of about 8 hours, processing nearly 650,000 tonnes of oranges and 25,000 tonnes of mangoes annually.

It will then move to a double shift and eventually to a 24 hour operation system in order to absorb supplies as well as meet market demand.

The factory will also mobilise farmers into producer organisations to consolidate its supply chain.