Soroti Fruit Factory, a pivotal player in the fruit processing industry, is poised to recommence its mango processing operations within the next two weeks, according to the CEO, Julius Martin Ekomu. This announcement follows the installation of a new mango processing line in December 2022, which underwent trial runs with 300,000 to 400,000 kilograms of local mangoes during the availability season in May and June 2023.
The factory is currently in the final stages of preparations to procure 110,000 kilograms of improved mangoes, amounting to a value of sh49.5 million, at the conclusion of the upcoming week. CEO Ekomu affirmed that these mangoes would be acquired from farmers at a consistent rate of sh450 per kilogram, maintaining the same pricing structure.
The processing of these improved mangoes is expected to sustain operations until May when the local mangoes become accessible once again. Ekomu expressed confidence in the factory’s ability to efficiently manage this transition.
In a strategic initiative to support local farmers and ensure the uninterrupted operation of the Soroti Fruit Factory, the management recently executed an emergency purchase of oranges. Over the period from November 2023 to early January 2024, the factory successfully procured one million kilograms of oranges valued at sh450 million from local farmers in the Teso region.
The move to directly engage with farmers was a response to complaints regarding the involvement of ‘middlemen’ in the procurement process. Ekomu clarified, “There were complaints initially about middlemen, so we communicated to the farmers that we were going to come down to the ground to see where we are buying these oranges from.” This proactive approach enabled the factory to identify and purchase directly from authentic farmers, mitigating concerns about intermediaries.
Ekomu emphasized the factory’s commitment to maintaining transparency and further stated, “We will continue with this exercise [of] going down to the people.” This hands-on approach aims to strengthen the relationship between Soroti Fruit Factory and local farmers while ensuring the quality and authenticity of the produce procured for processing.