LIRA: Virgin Gold, the locally produced sunflower oil has been launched at a colorful ceremony held at the Mayors Garden in Lira.
The event was kick-started by a band match across the streets of Lira town. Not even the scorching sun would deter the ecstatic matchers.
State Minister for Cooperatives, Frederick Ngume represented the Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde as chief guest.
Speaking at the event, Paul Omara, the CEO of Tropical Holdings Limited, the manufacturers of the Virgin Gold said the launch of the sunflower oil is a culmination of a three year’s journey. Omara said he had lined up a team of 42 contracted cooperatives and others in Acholi and Teso sub region to supply the plant. “I will not agree that when farmers get a bumper harvest then prices fall. I promised from the start that all that you produce whether at what quantity will be purchased at the agreed price,” said Omara. He said he had partnered with the Micro Finance Support Center to purchase all the sunflower seeds produced from the farmers.
Erute South MP Jonathan Odour, who spoke on behalf of the Lango Parliamentary Forum urged the locals to purchase locally to spur local investors. “When you need urgent cash to be used for construction, paying fees, buying cars and others, you need to grow soy beans or sunflower but also grow food for consumption like maize, beans and millet,” he said.
Ngume Frederic said government was planning to construct silos to store the maize during the bumper harvest to be sold when demand rises. He said the low price evident was due to the bumper harvest in all regions that doesn’t tally with the needs.
He clarified that the shs100b released by government is a loan given at an interest of 15 per cent. He said the capped price of the maize was sealed at shs500 per kg. Ngume congratulated Omara and called upon him to encourage others into the same business. He urged the cooperators to deal with the Uhuru Institute so as to get more organized. “We have 17,000 cooperators, yet more than 9,000 are into savings. I would urge you to work together with the Uhuru Institute for the better,” he said.
Lira Woman MP. Joy Atim Ongom hailed Paul Omara for the initiative saying “when we had a mini launch for Virgin Oil in Kampala, people said that women who take this oil become tight and look like virgins.” She urged the local farmers to add value to their produce so as to earn more.