Close to 25,000 fruits farmers are expected to benefit as government, through a private entrepreneur, moves closer to establish a juice factory in northern Uganda.
The Shs30b, which is a partnership between government and Delight Uganda, will need large scale supply of mangoes and orchards, which will be some of the main raw materials needed to create a sustainable manufacturing pattern.
Speaking in an interview recently, Dr Julian Adyeri Omalla, the Delight Uganda chief executive officer, said whereas they had over the years moblised farmers, especially in Nwoya District to grow mangoes and orchards, there is need for continuous production to ensure sustainability of the factory.
The move, she said, will be involved into recruiting more out-growers, which will be a big step in harnessing sustainable agriculture production and live hoods.
“We are happy that we have had partnerships that have helped to push us. But this project needs sustainable production. We shall need to do a lot of work with our farmers,” she said.
Government, recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Delight Uganda in which it committed Shs16b to take care of the first phase of the factory expected to Shs30b.
Agriculture Minister Vincent Ssempijja, said during the signing ceremony that it had found it necessary to support Delight due to a longstanding experience in fruit juice processing and being a leader in community development projects.
The partnership, Mr Ssempijja said will also help Delight in areas of agronomical and production research, pest control, post-harvest handling, marketing, irrigation, mobilisation and business skilling trainings, among others.
Delight has over the years moved from a simple juice producer to a large scale manufacturer with support from a number of stakeholders including UN Women, aBi, Enterprise Uganda, Private Sector Foundation Uganda and National Agriculture Advisory Services, among others.
Mr Charles Ocici, the Enterprise Uganda executive director, which has been supporting Delight in a number of areas, said this provides a foundation against which rural populations can be encouraged to get involved in commercial farming.
“We have been moving with her to the level where she has been internationally recognised. This is a big milestone that will need much more involvement,” he said.
Through Enterprise Uganda, Dr Omalla recently participated in the Global 2020 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Empretec Women in Business awards, where she emerged top in the Inclusive Business category.