CONSTRUCTION of a multibillion fruit processing factory based in Soroti district has been launched by President Museveni with emphasis to grow more fruits.
Museveni reiterated the need to grow citrus trees during the ground breaking of the fruit processing factory at the proposed site in Arapai Sub County.
"Fruits have more demand and generate more money than coffee. You have now planted 7m trees but that is not enough; they are just one quarter of what is needed, because this factory is going to consume it within a short time¡±, he said.
Museveni explained that it was very difficult to get entrepreneurs to build a factory because Uganda does not have people with the capacity to build a factory.
He challenged paramount chief, Emorimor, Bishops and other stakeholders to talk more about entrepreneurship.
The factory is being built by KOICA who signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Uganda through Uganda Development Cooperation.
The government of Uganda provided land, water, electricity and tarmac roads while the government of South Korea committed $7.4 million for the machinery and training of factory personnel.
The South Korean Ambassador to Uganda H. E Park Dong Eun applauded the efforts of Teso leaders in training the farmers saying he has seen the dream is becoming a reality in a short time.
According to the Trade, Cooperatives and Industry, Minister Amelia Kyambadde, the official construction of the factory is slated to commence in November this year and will take 18 months to complete after which it will be ready for operation by early 2016.
"We have already trained 30,000 farmers but these are not enough. We call upon local leaders to engage more farmers to grow fruits which include Hamline, Washington Navel, and Valencia¡±, she said.
She explained that government through UDC will manage the factory in partnership with Teso Tropical Fruit Growers Cooperative Union with UDC having 80% shareholding.
"Once the factory is developed into a secure profitable business unit, its shares will be floated onto the stock market and people will buy shares in it¡±, she said.
While addressing the gathered crowd at Soroti Sports Grounds, during the celebrations to mark the 92nd international Cooperative day, President Museveni reiterated his commitment to compensate the people of Teso who lost their cows and property during the insurgency.
Museveni pointed out that he had discovered that the verification exercise had not been conducted and promised to follow up it up.
During the 2011 general election, President Museveni promised to compensate the people of Teso who lost their cows and property in the three year battle but the long awaited exercise has not yet started.
The president said that he sacked the NAADS officials because they were diverting money meant to benefit the community.
"Thes people were like someone who is given to carry packed food for the school going child but ends up eating part of the food before the child reaches school. That¡¯s what NAADS was doing, they were eating food meant for a school going child and we had to sack them and brought in the army to assist because the money is quite a lot which we have been spending¡±, he said.
He asked each household in Teso to engage in food security and income generation.
Museveni was accompanied by ministers who included Jessica Alupo, Musa Ecweru, Jeje Odong, Christine Amongin Aporu and Deputy Chief of Defense Forces, General Charles Angina among others.