Each season, mangoes worth sh280m are purchased by the company from different farmers in the two sub region for processing.
PIC: Mangoes being sold by the roadside. The heavy harvest of the mangoes during the peak seasons has for a long time been seen as a waste of time for Lango farmers. (File photo)
LIRA - For long, scores of communities in districts of Lango and Acholi sub region have had to feel the pinch and stench of rotting mangoes due to lack of market accessibility.
The heavy harvest of the mangoes during the peak seasons has for long been seen as a waste to the farmers.
However, this seems to be coming to an end, as more farmers will be equipped with skills in value addition and development, record keeping and savings by sky foods and beverages limited.
According to Amos Nyanga, the managing Director of sky foods and beverages, a fruit processing plant in Ojwina division Lira district, this second training is aimed at boosting fruit yields and also improves livelihoods.
The first training that was conducted in the same areas, attracted over 500 fruit farmers under their joint co-operative society and these benefited as they acquired skills in book keeping, value addition and others.
“This year, our target is to provide training to more 1,000 -1500 farmers in value addition and other skills this year with sh400m support from Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) Skills Development Fund and SNV-IAP,” he explained.
Nyanga further revealed that according to their five-year plan, they will have trained 20000 farmers including those from West Nile.
He further said, the new approach is to get farmers more organised so as to make the mangoes’ business thrive in the entire region.
Mangoes, according to Nyanga will be purchased from Lango, Acholi, and west Nile sub-regions to the fruit processing plant in Lira.
"Uganda has the capacity to produce mangoes two seasons in a year, in March and August. Our target is to have these seasons cater for the available demand," he said.
Each season, mangos worth sh280m are purchased by the company from different farmers in the two sub region for processing.
Nyanga says the juice will be sold locally and exported to regional markets like in South Sudan.
The group’s future plans include procession of tamarind juice. According to Nyanga, there is plenty of tamarind wasted in Northern Uganda, despite their organic healing purpose.
The Board Chairperson who is also a co- founder of the fruit processing plant David Ebong, explained that they purchase mangoes from the locals at shs300 per kilogram.
“We also have a mobile pulp mango making machine that we take in the mango growing areas and pulp fruits directly from farmers and deliver the pulp using a refrigerated truck to the plant for processing," he explained.
He commended the innovation of the pulp machine, adding that it is saving over 10,000 fruits farmers from Lango sub region from losses as their fruits rot.
The waste from the fruits pulping is used as fertilisers by farmers and other trained to make briquette out it in order to conserve the environment.
"Currently we produce seven tons of mango pulp daily during the harvesting season. The beauty of the mobile truck is that the communities do not carry their mangoes to our plant, we get it from their fields, saving on their expenditure," Ebong explained.
According to Joyce Atim, one of the farmers that trained in the first session, her life is changing for the better as her fruits no longer go bad.
"We used to eat mangoes and throw away the rest. Our compound used to be filled with a stench of rotten mangoes as we had no market to sell them, this has ceased,” she said