How a Ugandan Civil Servant Retired into Cotton Processing
Ugandan Retires into Cotton Processing
Wednesday, 13th April, 2011
LIFE after retirement can be a challenge. The task of determining what to do with the rest of your life is often daunting.But the retirement could be relished, if you have a well laid out plan.
Amos Mugisha, who, in 2000, retired from public service, has managed to turnaround his life as he contributes to health service delivery in Uganda.
Mugisha established a plant that will soon start producing surgical cotton wool and cutback the country’s dependency on its importation.
The plant, based in the new district of Luuka, curved out of Iganga, is expected to start production in one month.
“A team of Chinese engineers are already installing the machinery and once they are done, production will start,” Mugisha says. He adds that the entire venture has so far cost him about $1.8m.
Mugisha says he had to acquire a loan from the Uganda Development Bank to meet the costs.
Before he retired, Mugisha served in the East African Customs and Excise department, Uganda Customs and later at the Uganda Revenue Authority. Armed with his benefits, Mugisha went to Luuka, where a cotton ginnery had been abandoned and turned into a secondary school.
He took over the facilities in 2005 with determination to revamp the ginnery.
Today, the factory that buzzes with activity has brought life to an upcoming rural urban area, and is also a source of livelihood to 213 people.
They gin cotton, produce vegetable cooking oil and animal feeds.
Farmers are also celebrating the coming of ready market for their produce.
It has been more exciting this year as the price per kilogramme of cotton shot up to sh2,500, the highest ever recorded in the country.
Busoga is still largely a cotton growing area and this was one of the factors that attracted Mugisha to start up his enterprise in Luuka.
He has also taken the call for value addition seriously as the cotton that gets into his stores only leaves the factory in consumable forms.
Since 1903 when colonialists introduced the crop in the region, it has majorly been exported in raw form.
Cotton is a one season crop and during harvest periods, Mutuma gins about 60 bales per day and produces 2,400 litres of cooking oil.
The oil highly demanded by bakeries including the big names on the Ugandan market.
“Clients travel all the way from Kampala and Jinja town to collect the oil,” Mugisha says.
His feeds have also come in handy for the growing number of poultry farmers, especially those under the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) programme.
Mugisha’s surgical cotton plant will supply 40% of the country’s needs. Thousands of farmers who have hitherto been struggling to find market for their produce will be looking at him as a lifeline.
Mugisha, however, says he needs support from the Government to get the entire factory fully functional.
He says he attempted to produce soap but abandoned the idea due to lack of equipment.
The incessant power cuts have also been a setback to his efforts.
“Sometimes power is off for as long as three days and this affects my production,” he says.
By FRANK MUGABI: The New Vision Newspaper