PDM to salvage Agro Processing Facilities

The Ministry of Local Government will use the Parish Development Model (PDM) to resolve the challenges facing Agro Processing Facilities (APF).

The plan was revealed by the ministry’s permanent secretary, Benjamin Kumumanya, to the Committee on Public Service and Local Government chaired by Hon. Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, on Wednesday, 20 March 2024.

According to a report presented by Kumumanya on the status and utilisation of APFs under the Community Agricultural Infrastructure Improvement Project Programme in 2001 (CAIIP), the ministry is struggling to coordinate the 279 APFs.

According to the Uganda Revenue Authority, agro processing is a sub sector of manufacturing that uses agriculture products as raw materials and processes them into finished products.

Kumumanya noted that 40 percent of the APFs failed to succeed due to various challenges such as the high cost of power for running the facilities, lack of continuity from the private sector and availability of a production base for raw materials.

“For even one to succeed, it means you have money to capture the right raw materials in real quantity to be able to break even to have a high turnover,” he said.

He informed the committee that the introduction of PDM has solved the issue of the production base and that the ministry is engaging the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development to intervene on the matter of power.

The committee chairperson, also the MP for Bardege-Layibi Division, queried why certain districts like Kakumiro had broken down APFs without the ministry making any efforts to repair them.

“If the machines are damaged, what is the extent of the damage and how much is needed to ensure functionality?” he asked.

He tasked the ministry to establish the exact amount of money accumulated by some of the APFs so that means to clear such arrears are worked on.

He further proposed that the ministry formalises any engagements with private sector companies that they work with so that they can be held accountable in the future.

Hon. Patrick Isingoma, the MP for Hoima East Division, accused the ministry of not extensively researching about the areas where the APFs are to be allocated.

“Do we do reasonable study to establish where to place these very important units because take for example, Kyarugambire, which is purely an agricultural community was given a milk processing plant” he asked.

The woman MP for Wakiso District, Hon. Betty Naluyima, emphasised the need for the ministry to present a comprehensive plan on how they will find workable solutions to the challenges faced by the APFs.

The committee tasked the ministry to ensure that the APFS will be accessible to all citizens so that it can aid in the national development agenda.