By Joshua Kato
It was funfair, music, dance and developmental speeches as perhaps the best livestock feeds concentrate facility was officially introduced to the Ugandan market on Thursday, last week.
The facility under the names Tunga Nutrition, is housed under the former UNGA Millers was officially launched by Frank Tumwebaze, Minister of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF). It is owned by Dutch livestock producing company, Nutreco, producers of Hendrix feeds. “I congratulate Tunga for this milestone,” Tumwebaze said.
According to Tunga nutrition Managing Director, Toochukwu Chido, the factory will not only ease the supply of livestock concentrates in Uganda, but it will also improve the cereals and grains value chain because raw materials like maize and soya will be bought locally. On the same day, the 2024 Harvest Money Expo was also launched. Tunga is one of the sponsors of the
2024 Harvest Money Expo. The other sponsors include Engineering Solutions (Engsol), NAADS, Koica and Technoserve.
The launching of this facility is a clear testimony to the contribution of the Harvest Money expo to the agriculture sector in Uganda. Managers of Nutreco/Tunga enhanced the idea of setting up this factory after visiting the earlier expos.
“They came and attended the Harvest Money Expo in 2017 partly to explore how they could deeply invest in the livestock feeds value chain in Uganda,” Dr Samuel Ssewagudde, Commercial Manager, Tunga Nutrition says. The group, after realizing the huge potential of the livestock feeds industry in Uganda started looking for a facility to start processing the feeds here
In February 2022, the first vital announcement about the new partnership was made. Nutreco had acquired the redundant UNGA Millers facility and was to renovate it into a state-of-the-art concentrates factory.
“Nutreco is delighted to announce that it has received regulatory approval for its partnership with Unga Group Plc, to form two joint ventures which will help meet the growing demand for high quality protein in the East African Region,” the announcement said.
This announcement furthers Nutreco’s commitment to its purpose of Feeding the Future and will strengthen the footprint of its business lines, Trouw Nutrition and Skretting, in East Africa – a core focus region as it continues to expand globally. Trouw Nutrition produces Hendrix livestock feeds. In Uganda, they are distributed by Champrisa International, who are also sponsors of the annual Harvest Money Expo.
According to Ssewagudde, the partnership involves open-ended, Nutreco-managed joint ventures with two indirect subsidies of Unga Group – Unga Farm Care (EA) limited in Kenya, and Unga Millers (U) Limited in Uganda. Both ventures were named Tunga Nutrition, taking inspiration from the Swahili word Tunga, meaning “to compose”. Tunga Nutrition Kenya will increase production capacity at its jointly owned fish feed plant in Nairobi to commercialise these products under Skretting and Fugo brands.
While Tunga Nutrition Uganda is making use of Unga Millers’ dormant flour mill in Kampala, converting this into a state-of-the-art feed mill producing animal feeds and concentrates. Its products will be sold under both Trouw Nutrition’s Hendrix and Unga’s Fugo Brands. The structure has four silos, a factory for processing the feeds and warehouses to store the finished
product. At the moment, Ssewagudde says that at least US$6m (sh22bn) has been invested in the machinery.
“With a 10 hour shift, that is about 150metric tons per day,” Ssewagudde says.
Tunga nutrition managing director, Toochukwu Chido says that since last year when they started producing the concentrate locally, the prices of the feed have dropped by 15% which implies that the profit margin increases.
“Producing the concentrate locally means there will be no more stock outs which have been affecting the productivity of farms but also farmers will be assured of the quality and fresh product,” he says.
At the Expo, Chido says they will provide other services to their customers like feed quality check, advisory on the best practices in poultry, piggery, dairy and fish farming so as to maximize profitability.
Tunga Nutrition is a joint venture company between Unga and Nutreco, the renowned feed and food milling companies. They are also finalizing a digital platform where farmers will be able to get all the information about farm management yet to be launched by the end of March.
The start of the art industry has a production capacity of 10mt per a day which Chido says will go a long way in further reducing the cost of the feed and creation of employment.
FARMERS TO SUPPLY FACTORY
One of the big beneficiaries will be cereals farmers. “The concentrates are processed here, using locally sourced raw materials and at the same time with the quality similar to what we currently import from the Netherlands,” Chido explained. Among the raw materials that will be locally sourced include maize and soya.
“The factory will require lots of soya and maize. We prefer buying these directly from farmers groups rather than middlemen. We have already contacted several farmers groups to supply us soya and maize,” he says.
Although the state of the art factory will be mainly automated, they now employ at least 70 Ugandan skilled workers. “Most of the activities at the factory will be carried out by simply pressing a button, however we shall also employ Ugandans at the facility,” he says. These have already received training from Netherlands.
Chris Magezi, from Champrisa International, the local distributors of Hendrix feeds ion Uganda says that the construction of the factory here will help reduce prices of the concentrates.
“Previously we depended on how fast a ship would move from Netherlands to Uganda and because of this, we got many stock outs. But now that we are here, those stock outs are no more,” Magezi said.