President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni on Saturday commissioned fruit processing factory-Soroti Fruit Factory in Soroti district.
The project was funded by government of Uganda and the Korean government with a contribution of Ugx. 20.5bn and Ugx. 28bn respectively. The factory is expected to directly and indirectly provide employment to over 1,000 people.
Speaking at the launch, the president said: The trick about farming is that it must be based on “akabalo” (calculation). In Teso, people used to grow coffee and cotton on small pieces of land. You would find someone growing cotton on one acre and earning about Shs200,000 a year.
‘ ‘This idea of growing cash crops on even very small pieces of land was propagated by the colonialists who wanted raw materials for their factories back home but did not really care about our people’s welfare and income. So, when I came to Teso, I decampaigned this practice. These cash-crops should be a preserve of farmers or institutions with large tracts of land. For those with small pieces, you should go for crops or activities that offer high financial returns even when done on small scale’’. He said.
He added: That is how I preached fruit farming, dairy rearing, apiary, keeping poultry, in place of coffee growing, tobbaco farming and others. It took long but I am happy that people of Teso got my message. Now, there are 8.2 million fruit trees in this sub-region alone.
The head of state said that he has over the years studied the global market, the demand for fruits is big. The same for dairy products, fish and honey that is why I recommend these products. Therefore, let us go into fruits because they are the medicine for poverty for the ‘small people’.
He hailed the Koreans for their support. ‘ ‘We can cooperate more in terms of machinery support and skills transfer. Our economy is growing fast and that presents many opportunities.’’
He cautioned the people of Teso sub region to stop land fragmentation. ‘ ‘The practice of children splitting up land when the family head dies, should stop. Own the land jointly as a family, only share the proceeds from that land. I keep doing my part and guiding you. When I go to heaven, I will tell God I told you what to do but you simply refused.’’