Six years later, govt to build first cocoa factory in Bundibugyo

A cocoa worker at Esco Uganda limited drying cocoa. PHOTO/LONGINO MUHINDO

What you need to know:

  • Cocoa farmers in the area urged government on investing in research and trainings regarding modern agricultural approaches to boost production.

The government through Uganda Development Corporation (UDC) has started the process of establishing the first ever Cocoa processing factory in Bundibugyo District.

This was after authorities from UDC started engaging all cocoa farmers and other stakeholders from the district to discuss the feasibility study on establishment of the factory on Thursday.

The establishment of the cocoa processing factory, six years after President Museveni’s pledge and January 29, 2016 directive, is expected to enable value addition.

“This will solve post-harvest handling issues. It will also provide ready market to the cash crop’s farmers in Bundibugyo,” said Mr Yudaya Kadondi, the UDC investment services manager.

Bundibugyo cocoa farmers and their leaders gathered during a feasibility study engagement by UDC on Thursday. PHOTO/LONGINO MUHINDO

Bundibugyo District produces more than 18,000 metric tons of cocoa annually with a kilogram currently going for Shs6, 000-Shs 7,000 locally.

“The processing factory will transform lives for farmers that have been selling it in row form,”” the state minister for trade and industry, Ms Harriet Ntabazi, observed on August 4.

Authorities say Bundibugyo has already earmarked 18 acres of land near Kanyamwirima Barracks where the factory will be established.

Cocoa is harvested twice a month throughout the year, with peak seasons in September to February and March to August.

“We intend to raise financing for cocoa buying and processing project from government of Uganda and investors with a projected investment requirement of $6.2m (about 23billion),” noted Dr Swizin Kyomuhendo from Bwamba cooperative Union.

Cocoa farmers in the area urged government on investing in research and trainings regarding modern agricultural approaches to boost production.

Other issues 

The manager of Semuliki Co-operative union, an umbrella for cocoa farmers in Bundibugyo, Mr Methodius Baryesiima, decried lack of clear policies to regulate coca farming.

“We need our policy makers to make sure they draft a policy for cocoa. Uganda earns a lot from cocoa but unfortunately it has been left in the hands of the private sector,” he said.

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