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Iteso Farmers Group Seeks Value Addition Answers At Research Institute

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By Titus Kakembo                         

A tour of the Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) by 13 Itesots, members of the Green Gold Harvest from Kapelebyong impregnated them with ambition, curiosity and confidence. 

The tour is a follow-up of a one-day workshop last month facilitated by Quality Education Consultant Ltd which challenged them to think out of the box.

“You do not need to be a billionaire to become a Madhivani or Mukwano in this century,” UIRI communication officer Gloria Adeti said.

“We have an incubation centre here which requires no big bank balance, education qualification or billions to get started. Better still there is no age limit,” she added.

This left the visitors, who had come to benchmark on behalf of members of their group, on the edges of their seats with anxiety, curiosity and inflated ambition.  

“It is time you stopped taking what you produce to the market without adding value,” Adeti said, adding: “Those items you take for granted are gold if processed and packaged to the required standards”.

The tour of UIRI left the eyebrows of the 12 men and one woman touching their hairlines with surprise and exclamations in the vernacular of Utukwi! (wow) upon seeing different things being made.

“This Gamoderma enable (mushroom) goes to waste in the bushes of North Teso and the technician here is showing us herbs from it that cost shillings 700,000 for four tablespoons,” whispered Paul Omadi.

Regina Acen could not help but muse that UIRI is the right place for every mother in Teso to visit.

“They are the ones who sow, harvest and dry the crops,” revealed Acen. 

“Here, they can package their ebo, cassava and tamarinds to get better prices. The market is there among homesick Iteso spread across the world in urban settings.”

In one of the soap-making sections, the visitors challenged their host to pronounce the name of their home – Kapelebyong. 

When the host identified herself as Grace Kongai from Bukedea, they took second glances at each other.

“You start a cottage soap industry in Kapelebyong,” tipped the home girl Kongai. 

“All you need are chemicals and the formula. Within seven days you will have mastered the art.”

Adding that, if they had capital, they would buy the ingredients, deliver them to the UIRI incubation centre and take them to the market already processed as they master the skills.

“This can go on until you can afford the machinery to set up a factory in Kapelebyong or Bukedea.”

Goat roasting a notch higher

Another guide of the tour tipped the visitors to take time and see how attendants at Ku’Mbuzi have elevated the roasting of goat’s meat to a profession.

“It is the usual goat’s meat that is spiced, roasted and served with expertise,” said another UIRI communicator, Maria Goretti Nalugya. 

“The attendants call men Dady, young girls are called Slayers – before you know it your wallet is empty!”

Nalugya urged her guests to add value to things in their midst before ploughing their capital into new things.

“What do you have an advantage in producing?” Nalugya said: “If it is potatoes, millet or groundnuts, embark on them for starters. Grab opportunities.”

The QECL regional director Joseph Opul who was the initiator of the Get Out of the Box campaign challenged the Iteso visitors to go back home and pool capital, strengths and produce to make a mark on the economy.

“Ankole produces the dairy products and why does Teso not deliver potatoes?” challenged Opul. 

“I was impressed by the total of 200 acres of watermelon among Kapalebyongians. Your market is Mombasa but, the juice could be processed and you deliver it there bottled.”

QECL Prof. Joseph Omuron tipped the 13 guests to have work plans, keep books of accounts and go digital.

“You risk being left behind as the Parish Development Model programme propels the country into the middle-class standards,” Omuron said.

“It is you are getting set.”  

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