Value Addition to Local Mangoes in Northern Uganda for Access to the East African Community (EAC) Market
The Uganda fruit processing industry is faced with four major challenges:
the availability of fruit in remote locations leading to high post-harvest wastage estimated to be between 35-100% depending on the conditions
a lack of capacity to process fruit and to create added value products
a limited access to capital to support entrepreneurial initiatives
poor logistics and transport infrastructure
However, as Fonus’ Project Director says “Where there are challenges, one always finds opportunities and the fruit and fruit juice industry in Uganda presents several opportunities as a virgin sub-sector for industrial investment and market development.” William Kyamuhangire – Fonus Project Director
The Food and Nutrition Solutions Ltd (FONUS), in partnership with Food Technology and Business Incubation Centre (FTBIC) and the National Agriculture Advisory Services (NAADS) was awarded a grant by TradeMark East Africa Challenge Fund (TRAC) to implement their project which will result in the establishment of a local capacity to process the plentiful, but largely wasted mango crop in the Lodonga sub-county in Yumbe District via a processing facility that will produce up to 50 MT of mango juicing pulp per day for use in beverage products. The project will also create marketing chains and networks to deliver the value-added products to regional and international markets via the establishment of a centrally located distribution center in Uganda supported by sales and customer service agents in the East Africa Community, thereby indirectly increasing local access to capital leading to future development benefits. In terms of building local capacities and knowledge bases, the project will establish and train farmer groups in production, good harvesting and post-harvesting handling practices resulting in improved agronomic practices.
The project’s implementation is structured around 4 milestones:
involves the identification and procurement of land; the registration of the project’s investment in northern Uganda; the completion of an Environmental Impact Assessment; and, the establishment of the foundations for the processing facility in Lodonga sub-county in Yumbe District.
the completion of the factory building and the installation of the mango processing production equipment with a 50 MT per day capacity; and, the establishment of a district level support service and educational and promotional materials for farmers and local development partners with a focus on the mango value chain.
the establishment of a fully operational mango processing plant with at least 50 MT of mangoes being processed by locally recruited farmer suppliers; and, the full operational activity of the support service reaching out to at least 10,000 households with at least 1 mango farmer group formed in each of the 13 sub districts.
an increase in the incomes of at least 21,000 participating mango farmers by USD 40 per household per year by the end of the project, supported by at least five local mango collection service contracts being established with at least two export product samples being distributed to interested wholesale parties; and, at least 45 full-time jobs being created at the Lodonga processing facility.
- The project will benefit at least 300,000 people made up mainly of poor farmers, which translates into 42,000 households in Yumbe District, Uganda through farmer household supply of mangos for which they will be paid a favorable price, based on the fact that the majority of the locally produced mangoes lie spoilt in the fields where they drop. The indicative proposed price of USh. 300 per kg is considered by FONUS as a fair trade or premium price. As such, it will improve the welfare and livelihood of the poor who make up 49% of the population, resulting to a per capita income increase of USD 40-50 per annum leading to social economic benefits. Women and youth adults are expected to be the main beneficiaries of the project as it is they who are more involved in the harvesting of local crops; the two groups expected to comprise approximately 80% of the project’s primary beneficiaries.
- Farmers will be mobilized by the recently restructured NAADS who will offer technical assistance as part of the project’s extension support services to farmers and the farmer groups that will be established at district level in each of the 13 sub-counties of Yumbe District. The support services will offer training to participating farmers in production, good harvesting and post-harvesting crop handling techniques. The cooperative groups established will offer farmers a voice, improved collective bargaining power and improved access to agricultural support services.
- The project intends to create approximately 45 direct new jobs through employment at different levels of the harvesting, sorting, peeling, processing and added-value supply chain, with women and young adults being beneficiaries of the jobs created by the project.
- The project will establish a processing facility that will process 50 MT of mangos per day into preserved pulp for use in beverage products. The factory will extract pulp for 120 days in a year during the peak season (2 months per season). However, the factory will continue to process pulp into ready to drink juice during the off-peak season for a total of 250 days in a year.
- The project will also create marketing chains and networks to deliver the products to regional customers, who bulk purchase in neighboring countries, via the establishment of a centrally located distribution center in Kampala, Uganda and having strategic agents in the region.
- FONUS faced challenges with the acquisition of the 20 acres of land originally earmarked for the processing facility by the Ugandan Government, local Yumbe District ownership issues going unresolved even after attempts by Government to arbitrate a settlement. While FONUS wanted the land as a contribution to the establishment of the processing facility, the project also planned to establish a demonstration garden where mango agronomic and post-harvest practices would be exhibited to participating farmers in the project. The land procurement issue was finally resolved by FONUS through the independent purchase of an alternative piece of land in Yumbe.
- As the project budget increased through the need to secure alternative land for the intended processing facility FONUS found itself having to secure additional project support funding, from the Development Finance Company of Uganda (DFCU) Bank Limited, to initiate the procurement process for the equipment needed in the factory and the recruitment of a Field Operations Officer, stationed at the project site, who will assist the Project Manager in the day to day running of the project.
The project has great potential for replication given the ubiquitous abundance of mangos and citrus fruits in the West-Nile, Northern and Eastern Regions of Uganda. One plant alone cannot fully utilize the local mango crop in the Yumbe District area, so any successes achieved should result in additional private sector investment in the region.