The management of Soroti fruit factory is struggling to recover from losses resulting from the COVID-19-related lockdown.
According to Douglas Kakyukyu Ndawula the factory’s Executive Director, the company registered an 87% drop in sales during the lockdown period.
“Although the factory was operating during the lockdown, sales were poor because all the companies that used to buy the products were closed,” Ndawula explained.
He is hopeful that sales will recover, now that the lock down has been lifted.
“The market is already picking up, and we hope it will recover soon,,“ he said.
The factory, which is located in Soroti, Eastern Uganda, was established by the government of Uganda in 2014 to support value addition in fruit processing, promote industrial growth and boost household incomes in the sub region.
According to Ndawula, the fruit processing plant has a capacity to consume 6,000kg of oranges, 2,000kg of mangoes and 4,000kg of pineapples per hour, and produces several juice and concentrate products under the Teju brand.
“Its main products are juice concentrates (Mango, Orange and Lemon) and ready-to-drink juice which must meet the required domestic, regional and international standards,” he said.
Ndawula said the company has so far bought a total 2,500,000 kg of oranges from 109 farmer cooperative unions, primary cooperative societies, associations, and companies that were registered to supply the factory with fruits from the Eastern and Northern parts of Uganda.
He said the company is still in need of supply of specific fruit varieties from farmers:
“I want to inform farmers that the only improved mango varieties we buy include: Boribo, Kakule, Tommy Atkins, Zillet, Apple Mango, Kent, Keitt and Haden well improved varieties, while for oranges we only buy Valencia, Washington Naval and Hamiline.”