Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde has criticised local industries that shun homegrown raw material in favour of imported ones.
She said the tendency does not only discourage local suppliers from large scale production but also hurts the economy.
Singling out Britania Industries, Ms Kyambadde said the industry is doing the country and the producers a disservice, given that local suppliers put in a lot of time and resources only to have their produces ignored in favour of imported raw materials.
According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Trade last week, Ms Kyambadde while touring Britania Industries, expressed discontent over the industry’s rejection of the local fruits in the production of its juice.
Ms Kyambadde, together with the managing director of Uganda National Bureau of Standards, Dr Ben Manyindo, were taken around the factory recently, where they discovered that the collection centre for fresh fruits had been dormant for quite some time, yet this is a season for fruits in the country.
“Ms Kyambadde observed that there was no connection between the collection centres with the extraction point. At the same time, there was no linkage between the filtering points and the packaging centre ,let alone waste management system where the fruit peels were collected, a sign that Britania was not using local fruits to produce juice,” reads the statement in part.
The minister is further quoted in the statement as saying it is the role of the private sector to supplement government initiatives by adding value to local materials, creating employment, and producing products that conform to quality and standards.
She said: “Government emphasises that every industry adds value to agricultural products, given that the country has a large number of farmers who can produce the fruits as raw material.”
In response, the Britania Manager in charge of foods department, Mr Kunte Jagdish, said the factory has not snubbed local raw fruits, only that in recent times the percentage of fresh fruits supply from local suppliers has been reduced.
He continued: “Consumers in the Ugandan market prefer a mixture of pulp from India and the local fruits. We have tested the market with plain local fresh fruits without mixing with content of pulp from India and sales went down.”