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From orchard to innovation: Chucks Foods’ pioneering journey in transforming Ugandan lemons

(Last Updated On: 13 December 2023)

Kampala I In the heart of Uganda’s lush landscapes, Chucks Foods Uganda Limited (CFUL) has embarked on a transformative journey that not only elevates the citrus farming landscape but also redefines the way Ugandan lemons are perceived on a global scale.

This is the story of innovation, leadership, and economic productivity that has turned CFUL into a trailblazer in the agro-processing industry.

Below is breaking the ground and CFUL’s success story:

The orchards of ambition

Founded in 2020, CFUL set out with a vision to not just cultivate lemons but to revolutionize their utilization. The abundance of lemon orchards in Uganda presented an opportunity waiting to be harnessed. Under the leadership of Robert Byabasheija and Ms Auma Phiona, the company identified the potential to take Ugandan lemons beyond their traditional use and create a product that would transcend borders.

Breaking ground with innovation

The turning point came with the realization that transforming freshly harvested lemons into organic lemon powder could be a game-changer. This insight was not merely a business decision; it was a commitment to innovation that would propel Uganda into the global market as a significant player in the agro-processing sector.

Also read: Chucks Foods Uganda CEO on why local investors are ‘dying’ 

CFUL invested in cutting-edge technology and sustainable practices to extract the essence of Ugandan lemons. The organic lemon powder created was not just a product – it was a testament to the rich biodiversity of Ugandan soil and the expertise of its farmers.

From inception, a total of 2 tons of organic lemon and 5 tons of organic ginger have been produced by the company although realizing a 67% wastage rate as a result of the high-water content in the Uganda organic fresh fruit

Empowering farmers, transforming lives

CFUL’s commitment extended beyond the processing plant: the company actively collaborated with 1,400 local lemon farmers in the Eastern part of Uganda in the districts of Soroti, Amuria, Serere and Kaberamaido, providing them with knowledge, and resources to cultivate lemons sustainably.

This partnership transformed lemon farming from a traditional practice into a thriving economic endeavour. Ginger has been outsourced from the districts of Butambala and Gomba in a more systematic way as most farmers have undergone certification training by various exporting partners.

Also read: tndQuestions I The big story of The Avocado Company of Uganda

Farmers, once limited by the seasonal nature of fresh produce, found a year-round opportunity with CFUL. The economic impact rippled through communities, empowering individuals, and fostering a sense of pride in Ugandan agriculture.

A global citrus revolution

The organic lemon powder, a result of CFUL’s innovation, quickly gained recognition in international markets through various fora such as NOGAMU, Femunera Initiative and most recently, ExportHub. Its unique flavour profile, coupled with the assurance of organic and sustainable practices, positioned it as a sought-after ingredient in the global culinary landscape.

CFUL’s success story did not go unnoticed. The company received recognition from Uganda’s Leading Newspaper –New Vision through the Pakasa edition for its contribution to transforming citrus farming in Uganda and for pioneering sustainable agro-processing practices.

Future horizons

The success of CFUL’s lemon powder has set the stage for continued growth and innovation. The company envisions expanding its product line and incorporating more locally grown ingredients into its range. CFUL remains committed to sustainable, community-driven practices that not only boost the economy but also preserve Uganda’s natural treasures for generations to come.

At Chucks Foods, our mission is to revolutionize agricultural value addition in Uganda, supporting smallholder farmers while providing consumers with nutritious and flavorful products. We aspire to become a global leader in organic food processing, creating a positive impact on farming communities and promoting health-conscious consumer choices.

Chucks

Our 5-year strategic plans will include:

  1. Value Addition: To enhance the value of Ugandan agricultural produce, including lemons, ginger, cinnamon, ginseng, and pineapple, through state-of-the-art processing into premium powders to compete favourably on the international market.
  2. Export Expansion: To explore international markets and export a diverse range of fresh, organic products, including passion fruit, fresh ginger, yams, sweet potatoes, and fresh pineapples.
  3. Sustainability: To champion climate-smart agriculture practices and environmentally responsible production, fostering a greener future.
  4. Economic Empowerment: To empower local smallholder farmers, particularly women, by providing fair market access and promoting organic farming practices.

This is more than a success story; it’s a testament to the power of innovation, leadership, and collaboration in transforming a vision into reality. Chucks Foods Uganda Limited has not only put Ugandan lemons on the global map but has also sown the seeds for a sustainable and prosperous future for the nation.

In the words of Robert Byabasheij – the CEO of Chucks Foods Uganda, “Our journey has just begun. We’re not just processing lemons; we’re cultivating a legacy of innovation and prosperity.”

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