NAADS installs fruit processing equipment worth 3.4BN at Kapeeka factory
The government through the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) has installed state-of-the-art fruit processing equipment in Kapeeka, Nakaseke district. The facility is a Rural Agribusiness hub managed by the Consortium for enhancing University Responsiveness to Agribusiness Development (CURAD).
The facility started in 2017 supporting and training entrepreneurs in production of beverages mainly processed mangoes, pineapples, bananas and related products. According to Apollo Segawa, the Chief Executive Officer CURAD, the facility gives technical advice and nurtures entrepreneurs to add value to fruits to make beverages.
Apollo Segawa the Executive Director CURAD says the land by OWC in 2017, offer the farmers in greater luwero a functional center where they would take their fruits and bananas for value addition and provide a market for their produce. “We used to operate as a cottage industry handling few quantities of fruits produced within Luwero and Nakaseke districts, but with the modern equipment that we have received from NAADS, we will be able to process 2 metric tons of fruits per hour and nurture more entrepreneurs to produce beverages”, said Apollo Segawa.
The facility processes mangoes, pineapple and banana into different products mainly juices. Segawa says with the new equipment, they will be producing packed juices for both the local and regional markets.
Before Government intervention through NAADS, the facility was producing less than 30,000 liters of juice a day, however, with the new equipment, it is expected to produce up to 10,000 liters a day.
The Executive Director NAADS Dr. Samuel Mugasi says Kapeka fruit factory is one of the many value addition initiatives by Government through NAADS aimed at promoting value addition, reducing post-harvest losses and ultimately providing a market to fruit farmers.
“Since 2014, we have supported our farmers with fruit seedlings mainly pineapple suckers, mango, citrus and apple seedlings which has resulted into increased production. To ensure value for money and also provide a market to the fruit farmers, we have established fruit processing facilities in fruit growing regions. We have one in Yumbe, another in Kayunga, this one in Nakaseke, in Nwoya construction is starting soon and others in the pipeline for Greater Masaka and Busoga”, explained Dr. Mugasi
Speaking during the technical commissioning of the fruit factory, Dr. Mugasi said Government through NAADS has spent ugx3.4 billion to procure the processing equipment at the Kapeeka fruit factory. The factory is expected to start full scale production before the end of 2022. CURAD’s Segawa says Greater Luwero alone has sufficient supply of fruits that will be the raw materials for juice production.
Farmers in the region are excited about the new equipment saying it will enable them to sell more of their produce which sometimes goes to waste due to the small capacity of the old equipment.
Lunkuse Mariam, a banana farmer in Namasengere village, Kisimula Parish, Kapeeka Sub County says she has been supplying Kapeeka factory with bananas (kayinja variety) for the past four years.“I am excited and so expectant about the expansion of the factory because they will be able to take more of my bananas which sometimes have gone to waste because of low capacity” explained Lunkuse.
Mubiru William, another banana farmer in Kapeeka with 10 acres says the factory has been buying from him a maximum of 1 ton of bananas yet he harvests up to 8 tons in a season, leaving the rest to go to waste in the absence of other buyers. He is, however, optimistic that once the new equipment starts full operations, it will buy all the 8 tons he harvests from his garden. Mubiru has however appealed to the government to reduce on the high fuel prices which he says have resulted into increased transport costs from their gardens to the factory and ultimately affected their income. Apollo Segawa says CURAD has mobilized over 20,000 fruit and banana farmers in Greater Luwero to supply the factory with the raw materials and plans are underway to mobilize more farmer supplier groups to produce pineapples, mangoes and bananas. The factory is expected to employ over 20 permanent staff and another 20 casual workers.