A Dutch fast foods investor and businessman Tom Mugenga have signed deal that seeks to revitalize a potato processing plant in the Kigezi sub-region.
The Memorandum of Understanding signed between Kisoro Potato Processing Industry, which is led by Mr Mugenga, and Thijs Boer, which operates Hollanda Fairfoods, the producer of Winnaz crisps, will see the Dutch firm manage the processing plant as well as assisting farmers to produce improved yields.
“The goal is to upgrade the processing line, sign agreements with farmers in Kisoro to grow suitable potato chips varieties for the industry and finally sell the high quality chips in Kampala and other major cities,” a statement from Thijs Boer, reads in part.
Thijs Boer, the statement indicated, will also help farmers to improve their livelihoods, especially in Kisoro by providing access to finance, increased yields, and better market price, among others.
Kisoro is one of Uganda’s biggest producers of Irish potatoes, which is mainly grown in some parts of western and eastern Uganda.
The plant will be a value addition driver that is expected to help Uganda reduce potato products imports that mainly come into the country from Kenya.
The plant currently has installed capacity to process about 20 tonnes of Irish potatoes per week but will within a year be improved to 30 tonnes per week, which translates into 1,440 tonnes annually.
Mr Mugenga said in a separate interview that farmers have been struggling with middlemen who exploit them by lowly pricing their produce.
“Time has come now for the farmers in Kigezi to enjoy the fruits of their labour,” he said.
Production of Irish potatoes in Uganda is mostly for domestic consumption with a few informal exports to parts of Rwanda.