Government through the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) and Uganda Development Corporation (UDC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with mango farmers in Yumbe district under their umbrella association Aringa Fruit Farmers Cooperative Society ltd (AFFCSL), to establish a 5 metric ton per hour factory in Yumbe district under a Public Sector Initiative.
The factory is a value addition initiative by Government to increase sustainable production, productivity and value addition in key growth opportunities. Government has earmarked Shs.8.5 billion to establish and operationalize a fully equipped mango processing facility in Yumbe District.
In the MOU, NAADS is to contribute the resources for the establishment of the factory, provide production and productivity enhancing technologies such as seedlings, and other technologies to the target farmers, contract service providers for the establishment of the mango processing factory. The agency will also supervise and monitor the project and oversee the transition of the Government’s stake in the project to the Farmers.
The Executive Director of NAADS Dr. Samuel Mugasi said the construction of the factory was initiated by Food and Nutrition Solutions Ltd (FONUS), which is the fourth party to the MoU. FONUS is a privately owned company whose equity is held by well-experienced food scientists, technologists and technicians based at Makerere University.
FONUS pilot tested the processing of the local mangoes into pulp and has carried out a feasibility study and presented a proposal to Government desirous of setting up a mango processing plant in Yumbe District.
Mugasi says NAADS has already taken steps and contracted new company China Huangpai Food Machinery Company (U) Ltd to complete and expand the construction site of the factory and install the mango processing equipment.
“I officially handed over the construction site of the factory to the new company on August 7th this year and construction works have commenced”, explained Mugasi
He added that the plant will procure mangoes from the farmers and commercially process them into value-added products and sell them in the local and international markets.
Mugasi explained the MoU is meant to provide a cooperation framework in the establishment of the processing facility by the Parties through complementary actions for the effective and efficient functioning of the mango fruit value chain.
On the other hand, Uganda Development Corporation which was represented by the Executive Director Dr. Patrick Birungi, will ensure smooth commercial operations and management of the fruit factory in collaboration with FONUS, and oversee the smooth transition of Government’s stake (divestiture period and process) in the project to the Aringa Fruit Farmers’ Cooperative Society Ltd.
In the 3 year MoU, FONUS will offer technological expertise for value addition to mangoes, identify and provide advice on appropriate technologies, avail the required land for setting up the mango processing plant; and contribute resources for the establishment and operationalization for the factory. FONUS will also initiate the creation of a subsidiary company that will take care of the project and in which the farmers will hold shares equivalent to the GOU investment.
The farmers are tasked to ensure sustainable and continuous production and supply of quality mangoes to the factory at equitable prices.
Signing on behalf of the farmers, the Chairperson of Aringa Fruit Farmers Cooperative Society ltd Mustafa Aziku said they have mobilized their farmers to grow more mangoes to feed the factory.
Farmers are also required to work with Yumbe District Local Government for agricultural extension services and acquire shares in the subsidiary company that will take care of the project.
“This factory was designed based on the local mangoes grown in the West Nile region. So I urge the farmers to take advantage of the free mango seedlings distributed by NAADS/OWC and plant more mangoes that will feed the factory”, said Dr. Mugasi
He added that the factory will be a ready market for the farmers. Dr. Mugasi said Coca Cola Company has already offered to buy 5,000MT of the mango concentrate per year from the factory.
The Chairman LC5 of Yumbe District Taban Yassin who witnessed the signing of the MoU said the coming of the factory will put a stop to the exploitation of our farmers by the middlemen who buy the mangoes cheaply.
Dr. Mugasi confirmed construction works will take 5 months from August 2019, installation of the equipment will take one month and the factory is expected to be ready for commissioning in early 2020.