Multi Billion Nakaseke juice Factory fails to take off
Three years after it was commissioned, Bulemezi 2014 Ltd, a tomato processing factory in Nakaseke district has failed to take off.
The factory is one of the presidential initiatives attached to Namunkekera Agro-Processing Industries Ltd in Kapeeka.
Although at the time of its commissioning in 2014, the factory was valued at shs 700 million, its products have never surfaced on the market save for those produced during the pilot study.
Toni Kamwesiga, the factory’s managing director said that the factory has been down for almost two years, after it failed to realize markets for its products.
“We produced for the first two years but there was no market for the tomato paste, so we closed,” she said.
Ms Kamwesiga was on Wednesday interfacing with members of the parliamentary Committee on Government Assurances and Implementation who visited the farm on a fact finding mission.
The lawmakers led by Kawempe North MP Latif Ssebaggala were dismayed to find that irrespective of the numerous loans approved by parliament to a tune of Ugx 5 billion had not been put to use.
“There are many pledges that have not been met yet at the same time money is never put into use, I think we need to rethink this whole issue of presidential pldges,” Ssebaggala said.
Ms Kamwesiga however said that the factory is very much needed but what was important was to rethink its market.
“We need the tomato paste but the market is not there locally and yet for exports, those who wanted it demanded for a more compressed product that we could not manufacture,” she said.
Area Members of Parliament Mr Paulson Luttamaguzi Semakula (DP-Nakaseke South) and Sarah Najjuma (NRM-Nakaseke Woman) expressed concern, dismissing the draconian manner under which the factory collapsed.
“Many people had a lot of hope in the factory but it is sad that all the farmers are now disappointed after making losses from their tomatoes,” Mr Luttamaguzi.
According to the lawmakers, many people had invested heavily hoping to reap reliable income by tapping into the ready market potential that had been presented by the ministry.
The committee also visited other facilities including Semuto Health Center IV in Nakaseke district and Kasana Health Center IV as well as the Wobulenzi-Bamunanika-Zirobwe which remain severe deaths traps despite outstanding presidential pledges.
Mr Don Wanyama the Senior Presidential Press Sectary dismissed allegations of limited market as stated by Ms Kamwesiga as a feigned lie to escape from blame.
“That is a scape-goat, with the entire tomato sauce being imported to the country you just cannot claim that there is no market…I think the management is trying to hide from its failures,” he said.
Mr Wanyama also said that officers were must be answerable to their failures other than making political lamentations.