UGANDA – The Tororo Sukulu phosphate project, the EA’s largest organic fertilizer plant is facing uncertainties after resuming operations in July 2023.

Launched in 2018, the project was part of the US$620 million US investment which also comprised the expansive Uganda-China (Guangdong) free zone of International Industrial Cooperation situated in Toronto Uganda.

The industry was expected to produce 50,000 tons of fertilizers at the start and grow to 100,000 tons as the demand grew even beyond borders across the region

In addition, the company anticipated to create at least 1,000 jobs while generating some 1.6 trillion Ugandan shillings (US$466 million) in revenue a year.

However, the factory shut its doors in 2021 after it reportedly lost funding from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

President Museveni said the US$620m Tororo Sukulu Phosphate Project in Tororo District, eastern Uganda, collapsed due to corruption.

Museveni disclosed that the proprietor of the massive industrial complex, which was meant to produce the first purely organic fertilizers on the local market, was cheated by greedy authorities. 

In July, a ministerial team led by Dr. Ruth Nakabirwa, the Minister for Energy visited the facility, confirming its partial resumption.

However, days after their departure, the multibillion-dollar plant slipped back into limbo, raising questions about its long-term viability.

During the cabinet sub-committee’s visit to the Sukulu phosphate industry, there was optimism as the plant’s executive director, Jane Yaqiong Guo, announced the partial resumption of fertilizer production, expected to reach over 300,000 tons annually.

Despite the initial excitement, insiders reveal that the partial production lasted for less than a week.

Now, five months later, the heavily guarded phosphate plant has once again halted its promised production, prompting District Chairperson John Okea to express concern over the impact on the local population.

The district population is missing out on the national cake,” said Okea, reflecting the frustration among district leaders and residents.

The phosphate plant, occupying 26 square miles of land, has faced scrutiny from locals and former occupants who demand transparency about the facility’s operations.

During the cabinet sub-committee tour, the suggestion of phased funding to operationalize the plant was raised due to financial constraints.

Minister Ruth Nakabirwa emphasized the need for commitment from the government, leaving Tororo residents eagerly awaiting clarity on the project’s future.

As uncertainty looms over the Tororo Sukulu phosphate project, the district remains in the dark about the reasons behind the repeated setbacks, highlighting the need for a comprehensive explanation from relevant authorities.

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