President Yoweri Museveni has promised to engage Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, over continued blockage of Ugandan exports, an action that contravenes the East African Community (EAC) treaty.
Alykhan Hudani, the chairman of Yo Kuku, the multi-billion chicken processing plant, on Tuesday said despite importing day-old chicks from Kenya, Kenyan authorities blocked their processed chicken from entering the Kenyan market.
Museveni responded at the commissioning of the plant in Luwero, saying; “Some of the Kenyan officials are narrow-minded. They were trying to block sugar, milk and now chicken. If I said no Kenyan products here, they would not like it.”
“Even without the EAC treaty, the mutual interest of Uganda and Kenya is bigger,” Museveni added.
Uganda has been Kenya’s biggest trading partner for decades. Although Uganda’s industrial base is expanding, many Kenyan products still occupy shelves in Ugandan shops.
Museveni asked agricultural processors to stay calm and continue to venture into fruit and juice processing.
He promised Luwero youth that he will support their efforts to grow maize and soybeans.
Museveni hailed the several industrialists who have opened up businesses in Luwero, once a war zone.
Some of the industries include Chinese food processing plants in Nakaseke.
“I am happy that this area, which was a bush and a war zone, is now being re-born as an industrial base,” noted Museveni.
The sh27b ($10m) chicken processing plant moves Uganda’s agriculture processing industry a notch higher with state minister for agriculture Bright Rwamirama describing it as a “historical landmark”.
The highly mechanised plant is already supplying American fast food giant, KFC, which has several outlets in Kampala. The plant also supplies several other food outlets such as Mr. Tasty, Fresh Cuts and Cayenne Express.
Yo Kuku today processes 25,000 birds per week. This number is projected to grow to 52,000 birds in the first quarter of 2015.
Yo Kuku management says they are targeting to be the dominant player in East Africa by exploiting the regional and domestic market.
Hudani asked for stable electricity and a continuous and predictable economic environment.
“Our planning takes place with government policies in mind,” noted Hudani.
According to Hudani, the high level of automation shortens production time.
This means chicken will be more readily available to customers in record time.
It also minimises human contact with the product, lowers the margin for error and enhances food safety.
Yo Kuku is located in Bulemezi, Semuto about 50km from Kampala.
Set up in 2011, the farm benefits from the natural endowments of Uganda, including drawing water from nearby lakes.
Today, in addition to processing, the plant rears chicken and produces feed.
Hudani’s family settled in Uganda in the early 1900s but left during the tumultuous 1970s period returning in the 1990s.
Source: New Vision
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