MITYANA, Uganda: When the prices of maize slumped in the last season leaving thousands of farmers crying foul over the low maize prices that dropped to as low as shs150.
The wise ones organized under cooperatives decided to diversify so as to keep in line with the economy. Among those is Wamala Growers Cooperative Union. Last year’s bumper harvest left them with tons of maize in the stores. In 2019, Wamala Growers Cooperative Union is reaping millions from the business of making Cottonseed oil.
A visit by The Cooperator News to their factory in Wabigalo in Mityana witnessed over 700 tons of cottonseed stashed ready for making oil.
Mr Herbert Kizza Kizito the General Manager Wamala Growers Cooperative Union said they have been over time buying the cotton seeds from all across Uganda and in Tanzania of recent, until the harsh tax systems imposed on exports of cotton seeds caught up with them.
“This is a more viable business compared to the maize. Here the demand for cottonseed oil is so high, especially from bakeries. All that we produce is bought immediately, at times we produce on order,” He said.
The cotton seeds are also used in the making of cotton seed cakes that are used as animal feeds and for poultry. Kizza said a kilo of a cottonseed cake goes for shs800 while a bag of a 90kg goes for shs72,000.
Vegetable oil is frequently used for frying, deep-frying, and baking. Because of its neutral taste, cottonseed oil is said to enhance the natural taste of food, unlike other oils. Cottonseed oil is a familiar feature of processed foods.
Mr Saidi Mubiru, a technician revealed to TheCooperatorNews that the plant has the capacity to generate 500 jerry cans (10,000 litres) of cottonseed oil every 48 hours. “A jerry can of 20 litres costs 78,000,” he said. This translates to shs3.9 million in sales from the cottonseed oil alone
According to Saidi, Wamala Growers Cooperative Union expects to generate over UGX 30bn from the cattle cake sales.
Mr Herbert Kizza, the General Manager says Wamala Growers Co-operative Union Limited has a vision of creating and nurturing functioning and sustainable primary co-operative societies and a vibrant economic enterprise with prosperous members.
The Union currently has 168 primary co-operative societies with over 300 members each. Kizza says the Union also generates revenue from coffee production, processing, and marketing.