The Ministry of Local Government has injected Shs7.87 billion into promoting agro-processing projects across the country to ensure value addition.
The ministry permanent secretary (PS), Mr Benjamin Kumumanya, said the funds, which are under the Local Economic Growth Support Project (LEGS), will help in establishment of agro-processing plants in seven districts across the country.
The beneficiary districts are Bunyangabu, Kyenjojo, Nakaseke and Ntoroko, with two plants each, and Katakwi, Kumi and Alebetong, with one plant per district.
The processing plants to be constructed include that for seed oil in Apal (Alebtong), that of coffee in Gatyanga and one in Rwimi for rice, all in Bunyangabu, as well as another for rice in Ocorimongin in Katakwi.
The others are Kajamaka rice processing in Kumi; Kasiina and Kiyoyera maize processing plants in Kyenjojo; Kikwata coffee and Kiwoko maize processing plants in Nakaseke; and Itojo and Nombe rice and maize processing plants in Ntoroko
Mr Kamumanya noted that the processing units will create jobs for the rural communities and support farmers to add value to their products and, therefore, attract higher market prices.
He made the remarks as he handed over the projects to different contractors at the ministry offices in Kampala on Friday.
“When we give value addition facilities, they will increase the shelf life and the quality of the product of our people, like rice processing in Bunyangabu, where we started investing in rice promotion and production about 10 years ago. Now I am happy that we are going to have a facility for agro-processing of that rice. Mr Kumumanya said.
He said the projects will directly contribute to pillar one of the Parish Development Model and that it will attract more farmers into the farming business and bring more returns to the agriculture sector.
LEGS is a four-year government programme supported by Islamic Development Bank, running in 10 districts.
The national project coordinator, Mr Paul Kasule, said the districts selected for agro-processing fall in water stressed areas but with high potential of improving productivity.
“These districts are producing a lot of things and not adding value. So these facilities are to add value to their products,” Mr Kasule said.
Mr Kumumanya elaborated the investments were identified and designed in close consultation between the ministries of Agriculture and Trade.
He warned the contractors against shoddy works.
“You have heard the President talk about patriotism and we shall measure your level of patriotism if we give you these contracts and fail to deliver or you deliver shoddy work and we start looking for you,“ he said.
Mr Kamumanya also warned them against failure to deliver the work within the stipulated time.
“The second disagreement comes when you come back and say ‘the money you gave me is not enough, so I need evaluation.’ There is no room for coming back to tell us about the evaluation,” Mr Kamumanya said.