Joyce Akiteng, a farmer from Otatai Village in Asuret Sub County says she opted to sell her oranges on the streets due to the lengthy processes at the factory. Akiteng explains that although the factory would offer better market for her oranges, she cannot enroll in the group since it requires money.
Soroti Fruit Factory
has restricted the purchase of oranges to farmer groups and associations.
fruit processing plant that commenced the production of orange and mango juice in April this year is overwhelmed by the high
production of oranges. This has forced management to restrict purchase only to
registered groups and associations.
So far, the factory has registered 63 groups from 35 districts
in Eastern Uganda who supply fruits on appointment. The development follows
weeks of queueing of orange trucks that spent days and nights lining up at
Soroti Fruit Factory.
The factory located in Arapai Sub County in Soroti district
only takes between 45- 55 metric tons per day. It operates one shift of eight
hours each day. This has forced farmers to embark on hawking and retail
their oranges on the streets of Soroti town.
Joyce Akiteng, a farmer from Otatai Village in Asuret Sub
County says she opted to sell her oranges on the streets due to the lengthy
processes at the factory. Akiteng explains that although the factory would
offer better market for her oranges, she cannot enroll in the group since it
“To join the group or association for supplying oranges to
the factory, you need at least 60, 000 shillings. If I pay that money, it will
take me about one month to access money from the factory. Besides, supply of
oranges to the factory scheduled because of high production. It doesn’t work
for me because I need daily cash for my family upkeep”, she said.
Akiteng shares her tale with several other farmers now
selling oranges on the streets of Soroti town. Valentine Opolot, a fruits
hawker in Soroti town, says he is better off with his daily sales. He claims that the factory business is stressful due to the
Douglas Ndawula Kakyukyu, the Chief Executive
Officer at Soroti Fruit Factory, says that they are now more interested in
mangoes since orange supply is high. He was however, quick to add that orange farmers can be
absorbed, provided they are registered in groups and associations.
//Cue in “I can tell you…
Cue out…has earned”//
URN found Moses Okurut, a farmer from Bukedea district who
had just supplied 30 tons of oranges at the factory. He said that the factory
has helped them realize money from oranges.
Okurut, who says he has over 4,000 trees of oranges revealed
that his energy in fruit farming never paid in the past since he was selling
directly to consumers. According to Ndawula, orange production is very high in
Teso while other districts in Bugisu and Busoga have mangoes.
Currently, the factory deals with specific variety of oranges
and mangoes while other fruits like water melon, pineapple and passion fruits
are expected to be in the factory next year.