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Uganda: Soroti fruit farmers cut down orange trees

The Soroti Fruit Factory in Aloet village in the Soroti district was recently commissioned by president Yoweri Museveni. Last week, however, fruit farmers in the district have started cutting orange trees down after the Soroti Fruit Factory management declined to take their oranges, saying they are not the type for producing juice. This was revealed by Public Affairs Centre official based in Soroti, Julius Arugo who said the efforts of the fruit farmers were frustrated.

According to Arugo, the fruit farmers’ anger has boiled to the extent that they have also rejected the government’s operation wealth creation seeds.

Arugo then informed participants that 60% of oranges grown in Teso can’t be consumed by Soroti Fruit Factory. The lawmaker said even the oranges used to kick start the factory were imported from Tanzania.

Failing to mobilise farmers
Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde yesterday blamed local politicians for failing to mobilise farmers and give them the right information on the fruits: "We have to involve politicians, they are not mobilising enough. It seems people are selling the fruits to Kenya but there is some fruit. I will have to go to Teso and mobilise farmers to grow fruits.”

Earlier last week, Lt Gen Charles Angina, the coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation, told this newspaper that farmers planted table oranges instead of oranges for juice when they learnt that a fruit factory would be established in the area.


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