The Soroti Fruit Factory has restricted its purchase of oranges to farmer groups and associations. The processing plant that commenced the production of orange and mango juice in April this year is overwhelmed by the high production of oranges. This has forced management to restrict purchase only to registered groups and associations.
So far, the factory has registered 63 groups from 35 districts in Eastern Uganda who supply fruits on appointment. The development follows weeks of queuing of orange trucks that spent days and nights lining up at Soroti Fruit Factory.
The factory -located in the Arapai sub county in the Soroti district- only takes in between 45- 55 tons per day. It operates one shift of eight hours each day. This has forced farmers to embark on hawking and retail their oranges on the streets of Soroti town.
Joyce Akiteng, a farmer from the Asuret sub county says she opted to sell her oranges on the streets due to the lengthy processes at the factory. Although the factory would offer better market for her oranges, she cannot afford to enrol in the group: “To join the group or association for supplying oranges to the factory, you need at least 60,000 shillings [€15,-]. If I pay that money, it will take me about one month to access money from the factory. ... It doesn’t work for me because I need daily cash for my family upkeep.”
Akiteng shares her tale with several other farmers now selling oranges on the streets of Soroti town. Another fruits hawker admits he is better off with his daily sales, claiming that the factory business is too stressful due to the formalities required.