SOROTI, UGANDA: President Yoweri Museveni has said he personally de-campaigned cotton growing in Teso because it was not lucrative to the population in terms of boosting their household incomes and addressing poverty.
Speaking at the commissioning of the Ugx48 billion Soroti Fruit factory at Arapai Sub-county in Soroti District on Saturday afternoon, Museveni said that he had instead advised the people of Teso to go for fruit farming because it could provide better returns, and could be grown on smaller pieces of land.
“Although it took long, I am glad that you (the people of Teso) finally listened to me. I hear that you have planted over 8million fruit trees, which will now feed this factory,” he said.
Constructed over the last 5 years, the Teso Fruit Factory has capacity to process 96 metric tons of mangoes and oranges into concentrates and ready to drink juice daily, and is expected to employ 200 people directly and benefit over 1000 farmers indirectly.
The Factory was financed by the Government of Uganda through the Uganda Development Cooperation to the tune of Shs.20.5billion, with the Korean National Cooperation Agency contributing the balance – $7.4million.
Museveni who jetted in at about 4pm argued that his government’s focus was now on raising household incomes, and said that the best way to do that was for communities to specialize in producing products in which they have comparative advantage.
“In my area, I told my people that the only way to fight poverty is to engage in dairy farming because you can sell milk daily. Today there is no grass thatched house in my area, all homes have solar power, and they can afford to pay for their children at university.” He said, before adding, “You too can earn quite a lot by growing items like fruits, poultry, fish farming from the swamps around, using a very small piece of land.”
On her part, Trade, Industry and Cooperative Minister Amelia Kyambadde said that government through the Uganda Development Corporation (UDC) would soon also commission the Atiak Sugar factory in Amuru as well as the Kigezi Tea Factory.
Uganda Development Corporation was by an act of Parliament re-constituted in 2016 to be the primary agency through which Uganda would finance and implement its Industrial strategy.
As a way of optimizing value from the factory, the State Minister for Cooperatives, Frederick Gume urged the farmers to be united under cooperatives if they are to get support from government. “We have over 7.5million cooperators countrywide at the moment, and it is these, and not Individual farmers, that can easily access government support to undertake commercial