Teso Affairs: The failure of Soroti Fruit Factory

Soroti Fruits Limited was incorporated to add value to fruits that were abundantly underutilised; to address the high post-harvest losses, provide market for the farmers produce, and create employment opportunities along the value chain, thus increased and diversified household incomes within the greater Teso Sub-region” (February, 2022).

This is not a shocker, as the Auditor General of December 2021 already have proven that the investment under Uganda Development Corruption (UDC) proved that the Government of Uganda huge investments into these State Owned Enterprises isn’t only unsuccessful, but blatant cash-grabs and “white-elephants”.

The “Report on the Alleged Mismanagement of Soroti Fruits Limited” only furthers this, as the produced report of February 2022 is no difference from the AG Report from December 2021. Therefore, it is only showing it more direct and one case, which happens to be the Soroti Fruit Factory.

Just read here:

The Committee made the following observations,’The only mango varieties not taken by the factory are the traditional mangoes which are said to have a lot of fiber which requires several systems to clean. Mangoes are mainly sourced from outside Teso sub-region because the available mango varieties in Teso contain fiber that cannot easily be processed by the current mango line. Whereas oranges are predominantly grown fruits in Teso sub-region, the factory found it economically viable to invest in a mango line as opposed to an orange line because the mango juice is a fast moving product that can sustain the market thus this could be one of the reasons orange growing farmers are frustrated” (February 2022).

The committee was concerned that Government has so far invested in Teso Fruits Limited a total of UGX 44.1 billion, in addition to the KOICA grant of USD.8million, however, this has not yet yielded any profits and this projects towards the fact that the factory may take a longer period to sustain itself” (February 2022).

What is really striking is that a Fruit Factory for the Teso region, has to “import” or get outside sourced Mangoes, which can work for the production line. As the type, which is mainly produced in the Teso region doesn’t work there. That shouldn’t be the case and shows that the Fruit Processing Plant isn’t scaled or made for the local fruit producers. This is just infuriating and insulting. Because, that is the purpose to value-add on the cash-crops, but in this case. It is instead for outside farmers who has a longer way to the factory, which isn’t the reason for the company to begin with.

On a second note, the Teso region is also producing more oranges, which isn’t even in the works. So, you can wonder what sort of planning that went into it and what sort of analysis of the region was to begin with. This is the Teso Region’s Fruit Factory, but it doesn’t serve the majority of the mango producers or the orange producers in the region. Meaning, they are outsourcing the fruit supply, because it isn’t produced in Teso. That is really impressive and foolish too. Who is this dumb?

Not only the spending, building and wastage of funds only, as it has been a money-pit and total loss from the on-set. This report isn’t painting a perfect picture. Yes, it was a report made because of an expensive road, but uncovers another bitter truth, which I find more interesting. As it is built a fruit factory, which isn’t made for the surrounding farmers of the region. That’s it. Peace.

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