By Christopher Nyeko
Amuru: The Atiak sugar factory in Atiak sub-county Amuru district has commenced a vegetable growing project.
The project aims to produce varieties of greens to boost the diets of its staff, cutting the feeding cost of about 700 staff who are expected to be recruited, housed, and fed from within the Atiak sugar factory during their working hours.
Under the green vegetable project, the company has tilled an estimated total of about 5 acres’ worth of land, where the selected greens are expected to be planted next month.
Benson Ongom, director of communication and corporate affairs at Atiak Sugar Factory, confirmed the development to the reporter during the recent media tour of the factory.
He explains that due to increasing numbers of their staff being recruited to man the agricultural mechanization, they opted to produce their own healthy green, which he says is more suitable and reliable compared to relying on purchasing food from the market, which he says is very expensive.
Ongom noted that under the project, communities neighboring the factory will be invited to learn modern methods of horticulture, which will in turn befit them to adopt and embrace the method in their respective households.
Atiak Sugar Factory was born in 2013 as a result of private and public partnerships between Horyaal Holding Investment Limited and the government of the Republic of Uganda.
The information disclosed by Benson Ongom points out that the government owns 49 percent of shares in the Atiak sugar factory, while Horyal Holding Investment still has 51 percent of shares.
The company has paused their first model of getting sugarcane from the Out Growers’ Association, and they have shifted to merchandised agriculture, where they use advanced agricultural mechanization to grow their own sugarcane on their land located in Amuru and Lamwo districts.
Currently, the factory is receiving heavy mechanization equipment such as combine harvesters, tractors, excavators, and irrigation machines, among other equipment, through Ugandan development cooperation after the parliament last year approved a total of 180 billion to be injected into developing the project.
Atiak Sugar Factory paused production of sugar in May 2022 after the company suffered wild-fire outbreaks on all their sugar plantations.
The company announced that they will resume sugar production, hopefully in 2025, when the sugarcane they are planning to plant at the end of 2023 has matured.
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