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Small scale processors in Bunyagabu struggle to stay in business

At Buka Foods Cottage, processing juice is still labour extensive due to lack of money for machinery.

Bunyagabu, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT  |  Small scale agro-processors in Bunyangabu District are struggling to operate.

They cite lack of advanced machinery, lack of storage facilities, poor road network, high cost of production and insufficient capital, as the major challenges.

Deo Musiga, the proprietor of Buka Foods Cottage Limited in Kibiito Town Council and produces local juice commonly known as Ensande from bananas.  It started commercial production last year.    

He employs 13 workers and on a monthly basis, he produces 300 cartons of juice. He, however, says that it is way too low when compared to his wide market that needs at least 1,000 cartons each month.

Mugisa says he would be meeting this demand but lacks essential machines like a modern juice processor that costs about 60 million shillings, standard juice parking and sealing machines that he says altogether cost about 100 million shillings.

He also says that the Uganda National Bureau of Standards – UNBS, has also refused to certify his products, saying he needs to improve on the environment, where the juice is being produced from.

Bunyangabu Beekeeper Cooperative Limited – BBC is another processing company located in Rubona Town Council. With 548 farmers and a production of 27 tonnes of processed honey annually, the company is still unable to export the product leave alone meeting the local market. 

The manager, Eliezer Magezi, says that they are unable to stretch beyond their current capacity because of a number of challenges that include lack of a storage facility with modern storage equipment which leaves the quality of honey compromised.

He also explains that they lack funds to expand the business, saying that their annual turnover of 300 million is too little to enable the process while high taxes are equally suffocating.

“Our farmers also need more skilling in terms of business management and operations and need exposure visits to other places where this business is booming so that they can see how things are done,” Magezi says.

Kika Coffee Processing Factory is another struggling small-scale agro-processing factory located in Kyamukube Town Council. It has over 500 farmers.

However, George William Businge, the chairperson of the farmers, says that the roads in the area are in a poor state which hinders transportation of coffee from the farms to the factory.

He also discloses that they lack modern storage facilities and their coffee is always stored in sacks on a cold floor, which he says affects the quality of the products.  

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