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Soroti fruit factory experiences delays in completion

By John Odyek

Added 11th April 2016 11:49 AM

The factory is a proposed Government intervention aimed at supporting value addition in fruit processing

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The factory is a proposed Government intervention aimed at supporting value addition in fruit processing

The delay in the release of funds by the ministry of finance and slow implementation of the activities might delay the realization of the Soroti Fruit Factory.

In 2012, the Government of Korea through their development arm; Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) offered to provide a turnkey project for Soroti Fruit Factory.

The Memorandum of Understanding required the government of Uganda to establish key infrastructure for construction to take off including land, extension of water and power to the project site, paving of neighboring roads, fencing of project site and provision of land for waste disposal in a radius of 10 km.

According to a report by the Budget Monitoring and Accountability Unit (BMAU) by June 2015, the government of Uganda had substantially fulfilled its obligations to the construction of Soroti Fruit Factory by paving of roads, extension of water and power to project site and fencing the site.

BMAU reported that the approved budget for the Factory for FY 2015/16 was sh4.4b of which sh913m (20%) was released by 31st December 2015 and sh892m (98%) expended. "Although release of funds was below average, absorption was excellent," BMAU said.

The factory is a proposed Government intervention aimed at supporting value addition in fruit processing for the promotion of industrial growth, income diversification and increasing household incomes in the Teso region.

Teso region comprises of the districts of; Soroti, Kumi, Bukedea, Katakwi, Amuria, Serere, Ngora and Kaberamaido and is the leading producer of citrus fruits in the country. Teso region has approximately three million fruit trees with a potential production of 600,000 metric tonnes of fruit per year. Despite this potential, Teso region has not seen any investments in fruit processing, whether public or private sector led.

The key challenges for fruit farmers in Teso region are; lack of readily accessible markets, fair pricing for produce; and cost effective and easily accessible storage and transport infrastructure. Teso region therefore experiences high post-harvest losses during peak production seasons.

The objectives of the project are; to increase the incomes of the fruit farmers in Teso region by provided a readily accessible and fairly priced market for produce. Other objectives are to promote value addition and agro processing of agricultural produce, to reduce post-harvest losses of produce, produce fruit juice concentrates and pulp that exceed the local, regional and international market.

Soroti Fruit Factory Business plan developed: A consultant was secured to develop a business plan for the project and an inception report was produced. The expected completion of the business plan was February 2016.  

The report cited delays in the developing an Environmental Impact Assessment for the waste disposal land because of the length procedures in procuring a consultant.

The contract for the construction of Soroti Fruit Factory was awarded to Hwanshin Uganda Limited for a period of 15 months commencing 26th March 2015 to May 2016 at a sum of US$ 7.4m (sh25b). The scope of works covers construction of an office block, main factory, two internal roads, external storage, treatment plant and an external toilet.

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