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Minister Ecweru begs govt for cassava processing plant

AMURIA, December 15, 2023 - The State Minister for Works, Francis Musa Ecweru has asked government to establish a cassava processing plant in Teso Sub-region, saying there is a need to process cassava into starch for export.

Minister Ecweru who also doubles as the Member of Parliament for Amuria County owns 150 acres of NAROCASS 1 cassava plantation in Wera Subcounty.

With its impressive yield potential, resistance to cassava mosaic disease, delightful taste, and adaptability, NAROCASS 1 has become a favoUred choice among cassava farmers in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

While on his cassava farm days ago, Ecweru told this reporter that the crop must be grown in each homestead in Teso for purposes of ensuring food security, although he said most of the cassava needs value addition so that farmers are able to make good money out of it.

He was worried that if government does not build the cassava factory, Teso farmers will continue to earn little money from growing the crop, adding that he wants to manufacture starch from the cassava he grows.

"I can not waste my cassava just for flour, am looking at manufacturing starch and being the biggest exporter in Uganda," Ecweru said.

“We envision a facility that transforms cassava into various value-added products, including flour, starch, biofuel, and exports,” says Musa Ecweru, highlighting the potential benefits.

The much-needed factory could create employment opportunities, lead to increased income, and improved quality of life for the entire community.

“This is not just about cassava; it’s about transforming our community and creating a sustainable future for generations to come,” said the minister.

Cassava starch can be used as industrial raw materials for food, medicine, cosmetics, textile, paper, confectionery, beverage, feed, biodegradable materials, adhesives and glues, chemicals, and fuel ethanol among others.

Minister Ecweru who also doubles as the Member of Parliament for Amuria County owns 150 acres of NAROCASS 1 cassava plantation in Wera Subcounty.

Augustine Akutu, chairperson of cassava producers in Teso and a renown farmer in Amuria district also added his voice appealing to government for a cassava processing plant.

Akutu who owns over five hundred acres of cassava and the top cassava farmer in Teso, said if built, the factory would absorb excess cassava not consumed by the families.

According to him, cassava growing doesn't require a lot of money.

He expressed concern that most of the farmers in Teso have resorted to selling their cassava as flour and chips, which he said needs to be changed if the farmers are to improve their livelihoods.

"We need a cassava processing plant so that can gain from value addition," he said.

While, Teso has about five million gardens of cassava, and the demand to have a processing factory  in the area has been on for years now.

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