President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has today commissioned Kike Tropical Fruits Limited- an extraction and refinery plant. Situated in Kakooge, Nakasongola District, the factory deals in fruit processing.
During the commissioning, the President thanked Mr. Francis Mugabe, the proprietor of the factory and his family for joining Uganda’s fight against poverty.
“Thank you very much,” he said.
President Museveni also thanked Ms. Olivia Mugabe who persuaded her brother Mr. Francis to set up Kike Tropical Fruits Limited, for her persistence that led to the formation of the factory.
“I found that daughter of mine in Austria. She told me she wanted to come back to Uganda and add a brick to the development of our country. I suggested to her that she find a market in Austria so that they buy our products. She managed to get the market and then came back here to get what she could sell to them,” he said.
“When she realised that the Austrian market needs standard processed fruits, she mobilised her brother Francis to set up the factory. I want to thank Olivia and Francis for having spectacles that see far. You know, you Ugandans want to import a lot. Francis was an importer but later realised that he could manufacture what Ugandans import.”
The President further assured Mr. Mugabe of the government’s support.
“What you are talking about are small things, supporting Francis is very easy. We give money to people who have nothing to do, and they squander it. How about someone who is doing something good? The problem is not money, the problem is the people who can execute the work we want. You will get more money from the Uganda Development Bank (UDB),” he said.
“The other issue of tax will also be handled.”
President Museveni told the audience that for years now, he has been advising Ugandans to get involved in commercial agriculture with calculation, saying that it’s one of the best ways of fighting poverty and creating wealth.
“When we came to power in 1986, many farmers had made a mistake of fragmenting family land through inheritance and that is why I said in 1989 to 1995, that you need the four acre model. We told you that if you have got four acres of land now, in one acre put coffee, in the second acre put fruits like oranges, mangoes or pineapples. In the third acre put pasture for zero grazing cows for milk and in the fourth acre you put food crops like cassava. You never heard me talking about cotton for the smallholder farmers because cotton is death for them; they will never get out of poverty; it can only make money if you do it on a big scale. Tobacco is also “poison” for West Nile. In the backyard, you put poultry for eggs and for those who are not Muslims, look after pigs. Then if you are near the swamp, make fishponds,” he said.
“Therefore, these seven activities are what can save a man of four acres or less. That is what we told you. Our message was partially heard, that is how people in Luwero started to grow fruits like pineapples because we talked so much about it at that time and Francis didn’t know that I had started the campaign for the apples in the highlands like Kabale. From one acre of apples, you can get a lot of money.” The problem was on our side; planning, we tried to build a fruit factory in Soroti, but it was poorly built, I think they stole the money. That is why I was now struggling with Olivia to see whether we can get private investors.”
President Museveni also donated a Fuso truck to the fruit farmers in Greater Luwero to help them transport their agricultural produce.
The Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Hon. Matia Kasaija thanked the proprietor of Kike Tropical Fruits Limited, for joining the crusade of industrialization and for offering jobs to the Ugandan youth.
Hon. Kasaija also assured Mr Mugabe of government support in order for him to develop and sustain his factory.
“Your Excellency, I came here about a year ago because Francis came to the office and he was complaining that he does not have money to expand his factory so I came here to see what he was doing and as you have heard, we talked to Uganda Development Bank and they have done what they could do,” he revealed.
“I want to assure him that if you want more money, please come and see us. We shall see how we can help you so that you can expand. On the issue of unfavourable taxes, we are going to sort that out because we cannot afford to have an entrepreneur of this type stalled. It means we are not doing what we are supposed to do.”
The Minister of State for Investment and Privatisation, Hon. Evelyn Anite described Kike Tropical Fruits Limited as a unique factory because it is one of the manufacturing plants that came as a result of President Museveni’s continuous call to Ugandans to “wake up from the sleep” and develop the country.
“Many Ugandans like Francis Mugabe have heard your advice of adding value to our agricultural products. Mr. Mugabe, the way you are performing I can just assure you that poverty is history in your family because our President has been guiding us to the place where we can actually contribute to the transformation of ourselves and the economy if you really want to make money, is value addition in agriculture and therefore, you chose the right business,” she noted.
The proprietor of the factory, Mr Francis Mugabe thanked President Museveni for honouring their invitation, before revealing that the day is a special one for him, Kike Tropical Fruits and fellow traders in Greater Luweero who have supported him for the last 20 years of doing business.
“It is a great opportunity for us to host our beloved President. Mzee we are very happy to see you,” he said.
He also informed the President that the fruits they use in the factory are supplied by local farmers from across the country.
“We offer them ready markets for their fruits. Not only do we offer them ready market, but we also employ their children,” Mr Mugabe asserted, adding that Kike Tropical Fruits Limited now exports its pineapple concentrate to the European Union (EU) market.
“Our products have been tested and they meet the required standards of the EU market and that is why we are exporting.”
Due to increased demand for the Factory’s products, Mr. Mugabe informed the President that he had to acquire a loan from the Uganda Development Bank (UDB) to upscale and expand the capacity.
“Your Excellency, we were able to be financed half of what we requested because we lacked collateral, but I think we shall harmonise that,” the investor said.
“We are meeting only 30 per cent of the required volumes of mango pulp for our local customers, so we are missing out on the remaining 70 per cent. Your Excellency, we need you to support us and acquire machines that can contain that capacity so that we can take up the remaining 70 per cent.”
Ms. Olivia Mugabe said, “The patriotism of my family inspired me to serve my mother country. My role in Kike was to provide advice to my brother Francis and to make market linkages Internationally. Kike is the answer to value addition to mangoes and pineapples and also boosting income to our farmers.”
Established in 2019, the state-of-the-art plant has a processing capacity of 1,000 metric tonnes of fresh fruits each season and has registered and supports more than one thousand farmers of mangoes, pineapples and passion fruits from the districts of Greater Luwero Greater Masaka, West Nile, Northern and Bukedi sub-regions in Uganda.
The factory adds value to Ugandan-grown fruits that include mangoes, pineapples and passion and is also looking at apple processing thus not only supporting commercial agriculture by offering a ready market to farmers for their products but also improving farmers’ household incomes.
The factory that has acquired National and International Accreditation and Certification employs 500 workers directly and indirectly impacting over 10,000 smallholder fruit farmers across the country.
The event was also attended by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Hon. Francis Mwebesa, the Minister of State for Trade (Industry), Hon. David Bahati, and Members of Parliament, among other officials.