The multi-billion-Shillings Value Addition
plant in Arua City is lying idle nearly two years after being commissioned by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni in October 2020.
Located in Chongoloya cell, Awindiri
ward, the plant was a component of the Arua Main Market built under the
Market and Agriculture Trade Improvement (MATIP- II) program.
It was established to enable farmers
in West Nile add value to their cereals and be able to sell at a higher price instead of selling raw products at a low cost. The plant has machines for
packaging the finished products for sale in the main market and for export.
However, Margret Deboru, a farmer
in Arua city says that they still take their raw products to the market due to the
delayed operationalization of the facility. Sharon Tiko, a produce
dealer in Lobida food market, says that they are yet to see the relevance of the
facility ever since it was commissioned by the president.
According to Arua city officials,
the 500 metric tons capacity value addition center can mill up to 1000 bags of
different crops per day when in full operation. But Sam Wadri Nyakua, the mayor
of Arua city has blamed the delayed operationalization of the plant on the lack of guidelines that
were supposed to be issued by the ministry of Local government.
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Evelyn Anite, the state minister
of finance in charge of privatization and investment has pledged to follow up
the matter with the ministry of Local government.
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Grace Kwiyucwiny, the State
Minister for Northern Uganda has appealed to the people of West Nile to
increase farming to meet the demand of the facility once it becomes operational.
She says the high processing capacity of the plant demands a lot from farmers who
need to venture into commercial farming.
“Are the cereals there to take to
the factory. We have to take this very serious that we are going to use it once
it is open,” she noted. Some of the crops meant for value
addition at the facility include beans, sorghum, millet, maize and cassava.
facility, which is designed to last for more than 30 years on routine operation
and maintenance, was constructed by Hebei Pingle Flour Machinery Group Limited.