Uganda: Cassava Fuel Processing Investors, Members of Parliament Impressed

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Members of the Parliamentary Committee for Trade, Tourism and Industry praised Bukona Agro Processors Ltd, a local investor in the Nwoya district that processes cassava into fuel.

MPs are very pleased that the company is producing ethanol from cassava which will be used primarily for cooking, reducing pressure on forests through burning charcoal and collecting firewood.

“I am very happy with investments like this as an environmentalist because the future they save is very valuable. You see the environmental degradation that occurs with the use of charcoal and we now have alternative energy; this is something we have to strongly support,” Hon said. Richard Gafabusa (NRM, Bwamba District).

Legislators are also pleased to learn that investors are making bio-stoves and pressure cookers that use ethanol cooking, which they believe complements the government’s efforts to create wealth.

The Committee visited the company on Saturday, 18 June 2022 during its supervisory visit to projects in which the government has invested under the Uganda Development Corporation (UDC).

The government has invested Shs11.9 billion in Bukona Agro Processors Company which represents a 40.5 percent shareholding.

However, lawmakers are concerned that despite the project’s provable potential, the plant is running on diesel when the Nwoya district has an electrical substation with the capacity to run such a plant.

“What do you think of backing this investment with billions of shillings and no power? How hard is it to expand the power here to support production?” asked Gafabusa.

Member of Parliament for the Eastern Region of Nwoya, Hon. Charles Okello appealed to UDC to immediately encourage the government to supply electricity to factories.

The committee was also disturbed to learn that the factory had contracted farmers from Nwoya to grow cassava but did not buy it. The farmers are thought to have left the factory that is currently buying cassava from Kitgum, which is kilometers away.

“The factory’s failure to buy cassava is causing problems even with our local leaders; next time Bukona will come back to ask the same people to provide cassava, they won’t believe them,” said Okello.

The committee asked UDC to immediately take an Operation Wealth Creation approach to motivate Nwoya farmers with seeds so that they can continue large-scale cassava farming and benefit from the factory.

UDC was also tasked with explaining their basis for investing in a project that was a start especially without a fixed source of raw materials amid high operational costs.

“We need to know what convinced you to support this project which we heard collapsed in 2019. How did you reassess this project and how did you achieve the amount you invested? Is there any benefit to the government?” asked Hon. Catherine Lambwaka (NRM, Omoro District).

UDC Investment Director, Andrew Mugerwa, reaffirmed the company’s commitment to ensuring that factories are connected to the national electricity grid. “We are aware there is no electricity but we made an agreement to follow up on electricity and we will report this,” Mugerwa said.

He added that UDC’s basis for investing in Bukona Agro Processing Company was their business plan which he promised to provide to the committee.

The Committee recommends a feasibility study of the project to save the government from investing in businesses whose financial viability is not guaranteed.

The committee also visited Delight Nwoya Farm, which UDC had allocated for investment. The fruit plantation which stands on 1700 hectares of land is seeking around Shs70 billion to start a fruit processing plant.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.

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Uganda: Cassava Fuel Processing Investors, Members of Parliament Impressed

Source link Uganda: Cassava Fuel Processing Investors, Members of Parliament Impressed

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