The Uganda Development Corporation -UDC is undertaking a feasibility study to pave way for the establishment of a cocoa processing factory in Bundibugyo district.
The proposed factory that will be managed by Bwamba Cooperative Union is meant to enhance capacity for the cocoa production to increase its quantity and quality for the benefit of local farmers and investors.
In 2016 while campaigning in Bundibugyo, President Museveni pledged the construction of the factory and in the same year, UDC undertook a field visit of Cocoa value chain affiliated stakeholders and facilities in the district.
Yudaya Kadondi, the Manager of Investment Services and a senior economist at UDC said the cocoa processing factory will provide a ready market for locally grown cocoa but also minimize post-harvest losses.
She added that the study will guide the government on the return on investment including the availability of the produce, the amount needed to invest, and expected production capacity.
Kadondi however emphasized the need to promote quality cocoa if the produce has to favorably compete on the international market.
The State Minister for Trade and Industry Harriet Ntabazi said the district had already procured 18 acres of land near Kanyamwirima army barracks where the proposed factory will be established. She is hopeful that the factory will come along with job opportunities for thousands of local residents and also add to the local government’s coffers.
The Obundingiya Bwa Bwamba-OBB cultural leader, Martin Kamya said that the institution will soon converge to discuss how they can mobilize farmers to prepare for the factory. He tasked local political leaders to organize the masses so that they can fully utilize all the opportunities that come with such an investment.
Hassan Baguma, the LCIII Chairperson of Bundibugyo Town council is hopeful that the processing factory will address the challenges of price declines that have greatly affected farmers’ household income.
According to the records from the Bundibugyo district production office, the district produces more than 18,000 metric tons of cocoa annually. Currently, a kilo of dry cocoa is sold for between 6,000 -7,000 Shillings on the local market.