“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).
The Auditor General Report of December 2022 isn’t spelling out a better story either. The Soroti Fruits Limited is a proof of mismanagement, lack of survey and planning. It is picking the wrong fruit, the wrong type of production and even not considering the markets itself. Nothing has been checked for feasibility or value for money.
That’s why the December 2022 report says this:
“I inspected the inventory stores at the facility and established huge volumes of orange concentrate in the cold room stores. The factory did not have a recognizable packaging line for ready-to-drink juices in PET bottles leading to choking in the Cooling Rooms. The inability to transform Concentrate into marketable juice because of lack of a commercial packaging line for Ready to Drink Juice, has meant that the company keeps huge volumes of Concentrate which are kept in cold rooms, thus increasing costs of production and inadequate products in the market” (OAG, 2022).
He further explains:
“I noted that the factory still had, in store, concentrate and pulp that had been produced close to two years ago and indication of limited market for the juice produced” (OAG, 2022).
If you ever needed a proof of how little viable the production, the factory and the lines made in Soroti. These sorts of statements say it. You don’t need the financial understanding or the liquidity of the company to understand it. It’s expensive to keep such inventory and to use electricity to keep it well. Secondly, the orange concentrate won’t last forever either. Therefore, there are risks involved.
The Soroti Fruit Factory, which was built for the wrong fruit and now also lacks the ability to tap or utilize the concentrate. Because, it doesn’t have the production facilities to bottle or can the goods. That means the State or Government must spend even more on the failure of a project.
This story is a tale of losses, lack of proper consultation and using local knowledge to benefit the famers in Teso. Instead, it has become a money-pit and a loss-loss project. You can certainly wonder who has benefited from this and why it happened in the first place. Because the famers and the ones who was supposed to be the beneficiary ones aren’t. They are the losing end, and neither is the consumer getting viable products to consume. This isn’t value addition, but expenses upon expenses without any sort of revenue. Peace.