Ugandan commercial fruit farmers on Kalangala islands -in Lake Victoria- have appealed to their government to expedite the process of setting up a value addition facility in the area to deal with the lack of markets.
The farmers embraced the growing of fruits mainly pineapples, mangoes and citrus in 2014 to supplement fishing and oil palm tree growing which had been their main source of livelihood.
According to records by the District Production Office, Kalangala has at least 100 commercial pineapple farmers some of whom are also intercropping their plantations with mangoes and citrus fruits. But they are struggling to earn from the production due to lack of markets.
Livingstone Mwasanje, one of the commercial pineapple farmers in Mugoye sub county says that the situation worsened during the COVID-19 lockdown after the obstruction of the Kenyan market. Mwasanje who owns a plantation measuring up to 23 acres says that many of the farmers are frustrated because of the failure to find markets for their farm produce. As a result, farmers have suffered huge losses after investing huge sums of money in fruit farming.
Mwasanje says that it is high time the government set up a fruit processing facility that can help farmers to minimize the apparent losses once they add value to their produce. He is optimistic that the value addition facility will spur more local production of the fruits and increase people’s incomes.