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.
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
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.