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Shea Nut Processing Plant, Huller Lie Idle in Kapelebyong

The equipment was donated to farm groups when Kapelebyong was still under Amuria district- under the commercialization of agriculture project managed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries in 2016/2017 Financial Year.
sheanut Processing Plant idle at Oditel Police Post.

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A shea nut processing plant and rice huller in Kapelebyong district are lying idle after being abandoned by the community for more than three years. The equipment was donated to farmer groups when Kapelebyong was still under Amuria district- under the commercialization of agriculture project managed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries in the 2016/2017 Financial Year.



The Shea Nut Processing Plant lies idle at Oditel Trading Center while the Huller is at Akoromit Sub County headquarters. George Ekunyu, the Kapelebyong District Commercial Officer, says that some unscrupulous individuals vandalized the Huller while the operationalisation of the Shea Nut Processing Plant was affected by low production of shea nut seeds.

He says that his office has prioritized fixing the equipment this financial year to enable the community benefit from it. He revealed that the equipment was donated to help communities reap big from shea nut oil and butter, which he notes are on high demand.

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Stephen Eyamu, the Chairperson of Ajarata Farmers’ Cooperative Society, the group managing the Shea nut plant, says they couldn’t start because they were not trained. He explains that after receiving the machine in 2018, the district failed to train or connect them to the market as promised.

Eyamu, who heads a group of 176 members, says that the plant also lacks other equipment like buckets, distillers and solar driers.

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The Shea Nut tree is currently under serious threat due to increasing demand for charcoal. The tree that takes up to 20 years to mature is being felled by the community for charcoal burning that is sold in towns like Soroti, Mbale and Kampala.

Shea nut trees are found in Acholi, Lango, West Nile and Teso sub-regions. They are known for the oil squeezed out of the dried and fried nuts, which are seasonally gathered by the residents.