HOPE AS MINISTER FRANK TUMWEBAZE PLEDGES TO UPLIFT SOROTI FRUIT FACTORY
The Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Frank Tumwebaze, has promised to help Soroti Fruit Factory, which manufactures Teju Juice, become one of the leading companies making beverages in the country.
Tumwebaze, who weeks ago replaced Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja (now Defence Minister) in the agriculture docket, toured the factory this Wednesday in the Teso city of Soroti.
While here, the Factory Chief Executive Officer Douglas Kakyukyu Ndawula complained that soft drink making companies such as CocaCola had refused to buy their fruit concentrates and insisted on importing these ingredients, making the factory lose out on much needed revenue.
Started by Teso Tropical Fruit Cooperative Union (TEFCU) in April 2019 to turn the plentiful citrus fruits grown in Teso sub-region into a profit-making venture, Soroti Fruit Factory produced its first bottles of Teju Juice in October 2019, buying mangoes from Kasese and oranges from districts in Teso.
Due to some challenges, Ndawula explained to Tumwebaze, the mango line had been dysfunctional but it was being fixed and would be operational soon. He also told the minister the factory needed a financial boost. “What we produce in 48 hours, our competitors do it in just a few minutes. We need to improve our production capabilities if we turn this it a big commercial entity.”
Minister Tumwebaze assured the factory bosses his Ministry and others can help but insisted they must assure him they would be able to compete. “As a Ministry, we can help you from a policy perspective. This will however require the involvement of other Ministries to handle issues to do with taxes,” he said.
“I want to know can you be competitive? Because we have to work with our colleagues in the trade ministry and explore what measures can be put in place to promote local content. However, we need to be certain that you can compete favorably.”(For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994, 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org).