President Museveni commissions Atyak Sugar Factory in northern Uganda

By David Rupiny

His Excellency President Yoweri Museveni on Thursday (October 22) commissioned Atyak Sugar Factory, the very first in northern Uganda. We bring you his words verbatim:

“Last evening, I commissioned Atiak Sugar Factory in Amuru District. The factory is owned by entrepreneur Amina Moghe Hersi, while government holds 41 percent shares through the Uganda Development Corporation.

For a country to industrialise, it needs the following; labour, natural resources, capital, knowledge and entrepreneurship. The last group refers to people who have the spectacles to see opportunities which others do not see. Our stock of entrepreneurs in Uganda is growing.

And once a factory is in Uganda, it’s a Ugandan factory irrespective of ownership. I hear some Ugandans talk of Indian factories, those are in India not Uganda.

Previously, some people in Acholi were opposing these developments. This is terrible. Why would you reject progress? When I passed here in 1968, all I saw was grassland, fit for grazing cows. Then Amina Hersi came with different spectacles and here we are.

You saw me hold a bag of sugar in the factory there. That is Atiak sugar. There is Kakira, Lugazi, Kinyara and now we have Atiak sugar. This factory adds to our capacity to produce sugar for internal consumption and export.

This factory employs 2,000 workers and impacts on more than 20,000 people and their families. The neighbours who have sim sim, malakwang, potatoes and other things have got market for their goods from the factory workers.

In Rwakitura, I sell a litre of milk at Shs600 yet my friend Prof Nsibambi, who had a farm near Kampala, would sell at Shs1,200 because he had a big market. Therefore, when you get a factory like this, please support it. Even if it does not directly employ you, there are many spill-over benefits. The nearby shops, schools, and other facilities will all benefit.

For Atiak, we are using outgrowers as the fulcrum. Much of the sugarcane will be grown by our people here. Each of these families will have five acres ploughed and planted for them by the factory. The families will look after the cane and will each earn Shs18 million after 18 months. The Government will continue to support this project.

Amina Hersi took me to River Aswa and explained how the people of Lamwo are growing so much sugarcane but have to move 175km to bring it here, yet if we build a bridge, they would only move 36km and be at the factory. The bridge will be built so that the part of the project which is on the Lamwo side will be directly linked with the one on Atiak side. This will save the money of the farmers in transport.

I thank the people of Atiak and Lamwo for making Africa proud because they have showed that even rural areas can receive the message of development and are able to reject the message of liars and malicious leaders.

I thank Amina for being a freedom fighter, she is like her uncle Museveni who does not give up even when I am abused. If they could abuse Jesus, the son of God, who am I not to be abused? But Jesus had a mission and was not deterred even when he was abused. He fulfilled his mission. That’s the same with me.”

The Atyak Sugar story is a beautiful one; and one that will help open up northern Uganda for more investment projects.

Uganda Investment Authority licensed the project and provided facilitation services throughout its setup period; and will continue to support its operations.

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