By Michael Atwakiire
Sheema: Masheruka Women Wine Producers, together with Gamba Nokora Wine Associations from Sheema district, are crying for government’s help due to inadequate market.
Bruce Orikiriza, the marketing manager for the above wine producers associations, told us that they have capacity of producing 1200 wine litres a month but due to inadequate market, they end up producing between 140- 160 litres monthly. He noted that even that the available market and customers are exceedingly bargaining, hence giving them little money. “Even the current customers we have bargain too much, but since they are the only that we have, we end up selling our wine at a cheaper price which is below our estimated range of prices. But we give it to them such that we don’t lose them,” Orikiriza explained. Allen Nuwagaba, the chairperson of the wine producers told us that “Wine came as our saviour from poverty and related domestic violence. But due to insufficient customers and low market, we are likely to go back to poor standards of living.”
She therefore asked for God’s intervention and a big hand from government. Nuwagaba noted that “I request our leaders to help us and connect us to anywhere we can get market from. Even financial support which can help us to improve our technology is welcome.” Azalia Bakesiima, a member of wine associations, said that except the challenges and hindrances they face, as members they have greatly gained from wine making. David Bashaija, a famous farmer in Sheema, also asked government to create a clean market for wine, saying that the factory hasn’t only helped wine producers but also farmers. “These people of wine are my esteemed customers because I’m the one who sells them Matooke from which they make wine, which means when they suffer, I will also suffer. I ask the government to fight for local people like us,” Mzee Bashaija said. These two wine associations are comprised of over 40 people and it is said that some Sheema district leaders promised them financial help from government although they have never fulfilled their promise.