LIRA– Guru Nanak Oil Mills Limited, one of the factories processing shea butter in Lira City, has advised the shea nut farmers in Nortnern Uganda to maintain quality as the company makes purchases.
The company’s chief executive officer, Singh Surijit, said they have set aside Shs 300 million to purchase shea-nuts from the farmers this season.
The mill extracts Shea butter from the nuts for sale in Uganda and across borders.
Patrick Ouni, an environmental expert in Otuke district said shea nuts have economic benefits as the oil extracted from the nuts has several nutritional and health benefits.
Singh said though his company has started purchasing the nuts, the turn-up at the mill is low as farmers struggle to dry them at the time when rains have set in across Uganda.
According to Singh, the company cannot buy undried nuts from the farmers because they lose weight as they dry.
“We are buying quality, clean and dried nuts at Sh3, 000 per kilogram. Anyone who brings in undried nuts is turned away,” he said.
Singh said they are receiving the nuts from Otuke, Pader, Agago, Kitgum, Kotido, Kaboong, Moroto, Abim and Alebtong districts.
Three years ago, Uganda Export Promotions Board (UEPB) said it would support farmers to avail at least 200,000 to 500,000 tonnes of the Shea nuts produced by 2022.
A Shea tree grows naturally and bears fruits after 15 to 20 years and continues to do so for the rest of its lifespan, according to experts. The average life of the tree is said to be over 300 years.
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