The management of Soroti Fruits Factory has called upon government to ban all the importation of juice concentrates in order to promote local consumption of the factory’s all-Ugandan concentrate.
According to the factory’s Chief Executive Officer, Douglas Ndawula, the continued importation of juice concentrate denied local market for the products produced by Soroti fruits factory.
Juice concentrate is produced by removing water from fresh fruit through filtration, extraction and evaporation processes, thereby dramatically increasing its shelf life. It is a key ingredient in the manufacture of processed and packaged juices.
“Government has been spending a lot of money importing concentrate juice instead of directing all the small juice industries in Uganda to buy from Soroti Fruits Factory. How we wish government could put a ban on importation of concentrate juice!” Ndawula said.
Established in 2014, Soroti Fruit Processing Factory, located in Soroti district in Eastern Uganda, is a fruit processing plant with the capacity to consume 6,000kg of oranges, 2,000 kg of mangoes and 4,000 kg of pineapples per hour.
The factory has government for its majority shareholder through the Uganda Development Corporation (UDC) which owns 80 percent shares, while the Teso Tropical Fruit Cooperative Union (TEFCU) owns the remaining 20 percent shares.
Ndawula says the factory currently produces quality products labelled Teju Mango Juice and Teju Orange Juice, already on sale in various shops across the country.
According to Ndawula, Soroti Fruit factory’s formerly thriving business has struggled since the start of the COVID-19-related crisis and the subsequent lockdown measures imposed to check its spread.
“Before the country’s lock down our sales were very good. We had many customers who could book juice worth millions of shillings, but the lockdown has affected our sales,” he said.
He, however, declined to divulge details of the magnitude of the impact.
“I cannot tell you off-head how much money we have lost as a result of the COVID-19 lock down, but what I can say is that it’s a lot of money,” Ndawula said, adding that the factory might need additional support from government to recover from the lockdown-related losses.