By Our reporter
Gulu University is stuck with 11 tons of mango pulp worth over Shillings 60 million, the dean of the Faculty of Agriculture Dr. Collins Okello has revealed.
According to Dr. Okello, following the acquisition of a juice processing truck from Makerere University through a strategic partnership with the Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) and Makerere University’s school of food technology, they managed to buy 40 tons of mangoes at Shillings 500 per kilogram.
He told legislators on Northern Uganda COVID-19 taskforce at Bomah Hotel in Gulu city recently that they successfully processed 20 tons of mangoes, but only managed to sell 9 tons.
He says their plan is to market the product to big juice producing companies to stop them from importing mango pulp from abroad. According to Dr. Okello, the product from the University is purely organic with the only additional content being preservatives to keep it longer.
Okello says since the poverty level is in northern Uganda is high and nutrition level is low in the period of May, June and July, processing mangoes and vitamin nutrition could help boost people’s health and raise household incomes respectively. Okello has asked the government to step in and support them more especially with the market for pulp among others.
The University sells a liter of juice at Shillings 5000. They also sell in bulk from 20 liters above and small packs for Shillings 1000. The initiative impressed the legislators who committed to follow up on the matter.
Dr. Opio Sam Ocuti, the Kole North MP was fascinated by the fact that the team successfully managed to deal with the mango fiber problem. Noman Ochero, the Labor county MP asked the government which has repeatedly preached value addition to come in and support the University.
David Rupiny, a communication officer from Uganda Investment Authority who has an interest in industrial processing, says that there should be a ready market in Uganda but the only problem could be that some of the companies already have commitments with other suppliers.