GULU – Farmers in the northern district of Gulu District are happy about a new market at Gulu University Faculty of Agriculture that has swelled demand for mangoes.
The university’s faculty of Agriculture is piloting a mango juice processing project.
Every harvest cycle, mangoes in Acholi sub region have been low-priced commodities, owing to overproduction. A basin of mangoes in Gulu goes for as low as Shs 500 in the peak season.
However, on June 5, 2021, Gulu University’s Faculty of Agriculture with support from Operation Wealth Creation received a mobile mango juice processor from Makerere University, to process local mangoes, which always rot away due to low demand. The multi-million truck, which can process five tons of juice daily, is stationed at the faculty of Agriculture.
Monica Adyero, a farmer who used to sell her mangoes cheaply near Gulu University, said she is happy now that her mangoes are fetching a good price.
“Today I sold 75 kilograms of mangoes at Shs 15,000. I rarely got this amount when I sold at the roadside,” she said.
Adyero said her sales always ranged between Shs 5,000 to 10,000 in three days, but she has been able to earn Shs 30,000 in the same period, something she says makes her happy. “I just take my mangoes to the university and return home within a few minutes,” a beaming Adyero said.
“Before this machine was brought, I could take a minimum of half a day to sell a basin of mangoes, since other sellers would also be there,” she said.
Christine Akello, another mango seller, said she now chooses the time to sell her mangoes to the university because they are bought immediately.
“I now use the time I spent waiting for clients, who sometimes did not come, to do other chores,” she said. “It is a relief”, she added.
Dr. Collins Okello, the dean faculty of agriculture at the university, said they have processed 10,220 kilograms of pulp since the beginning of the pilot project out of 31,210 kilograms of mangoes bought within the last two weeks.
Dr. Okello said when the mango season ends; they will write a report which will determine whether the government invests in a fruit processing plant at the university.
“What we are doing is a commercial experiment. We know there are a lot of local mangoes around and a lot of them get spoilt. So, we wanted to know if it is viable for us to make juice out of these mangoes,” he said.
He said at the end of the pilot project, they will be able to know the storage needs, waste management requirements, human resource needed and the tons of fruits needed.
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