By Raymond Baguma
The South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is to support Uganda to pilot the growing of high value aromatic plants to produce essential oils.
The plants to be piloted by the Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) are useful produce essential oils used in the food industry, pharmaceuticals, fragrance, beverages, and cosmetic industries.
Julian Mwesigye, the UIRI administrator said most cosmetic producers in Uganda import essential oils yet such oils can be extracted locally if the herbs were grown in Uganda.
The five high value plants to be piloted under UIRI include Rose Generium, Sweet Marjoram, Hysope, Lemon Balm and Roman Camomile.
She said that the aromatic plants were chosen because Uganda is an agrarian economy and farmers will easily adapt in order to generate household incomes and employment.
She said that the high-value plants are grown in South Africa and can also perform well in tropical climatic conditions of Uganda.
The executive director of Uganda Industrial Research Insitute, Charles Kwesiga talks to army officers from South African War Memorial College during their tour of Uganda Industrial Research Institute. PHOTO/Wilfred Sanya
UIRI is the lead agency for the industrialization of Uganda and a centre of excellence in applied research for industrial development in the East African Community.
Mwesigye said presently UIRI is studying performance, likely yield, pests and diseases, growth performance and growth rate of the plants which are perennial with a lifespan of 3 to 7 years.
The UIRI executive director Prof Charles Kwesiga said that CSIR has also provided technicians and UIRI is soon progressing to distillation and extraction of the oils from the plants.
On Friday, a delegation of military officers from the South African National War College visited UIRI during which they were familiarized with the role of research in supporting local investment.
The delegation comprised of military officers from South Africa, India, Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya from the army, air force, and navy, currently undergoing training at the South African National War College in Pretoria.