Hope appears to be returning among the people of Teso sub-region following the commencement of test runs at the Soroti Fruit Factory on Thursday March 14, 2019.
Ramathan Ggoobi, An Economist, Columnist with The Sunrise and also one of the Board Members of the Uganda Development Cooperation (UDC), the Uganda government agency charged with supervising the operations of factory, revealed news of the test runs. His video and still pictures of the successful test runs attracted euphoria and positive comments especially among people from Teso region indicating that they could return to the region to grow fruits to supply the factory.
Ggoobi noted that the tests were being conducted by technicians from Korea under the Korea International Development Agency (KOICA), which sourced and oversaw the installation of all the equipment meant to extract juice from the fruits.
The start of test runs is considered as perhaps the last step before the final launch of operations of the multi-billion shilling factory.
Built with supervision from UDC, KOICA donated the funds, more than 7 million dollars, towards the construction of the factory.
When completed, the factory will be able to process up to 6 tones of fruits (Oranges, Mangoes and Pineapples) every hour. Ggoobi says that the factory will be run by a UDC subsidiary called SOFTE. The company will source fruits from over 56 farmers cooperatives across Teso sub-region. It will also set up a demonstration farm in the region.
Although not yet determined, The Sunrise has learned that SOFTE intends to set a minimum price for each kilo of fruit to create certainty and an assured market as opposed to the current exploitation by traders.