The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has launched a paper pilot processing plant at the Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) in Kampala.
Speaking at the launch recently, Kadaga lauded the Institute for the innovations it has initiated over time.
“My last visit here was five years ago and I must say I’m impressed. Parliament will celebrate this by inviting you to come and talk about your work,” she said, adding that Uganda has various organic raw materials that can be used to process paper.
“When I looked at the banana stems, I imagined how much money we can get from making paper from all the stems in the country,” Kadaga said.
She noted that because of the need to spur innovations in the country, Parliament made a resolution to create the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.
“When I was in China, I noticed that every industry I visited had a research department. We need to inject more money and time in research in order to transform from a market-based to a producer-based nation,” she said.
The Speaker promised to arrange an exhibition at Parliament to showcase to the general population what the researchers at UIRI are doing.
“Let us support these products; let us market more of our products because they are good,” Kadaga said.
The Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Elioda Tumwesigye, commended Parliament for ensuring that a sectoral committee responsible for science and technology was created to support local industrial innovations.
He also said government was committed to injecting more money into UIRI, saying that UIRI will soon be provided with Shs10 billion for more work.
“The President has asked us to work on existing innovations and convert them into commercial successes. The private sector can take on some of these technology innovations and build on them,” Tumwesigye said.
He said that government is impressed with how UIRI is contributing to the production of products from the banana value chain.
The UIRI Executive Director, Prof. Charles Kwesiga, said they have piloted a number of projects including the paper-making one.
“We have projects in confectionary, machinery, agriculture, among others,” he added.
The processing plant uses waste paper and banana fibres from stems to make paper and various paper products using a handmade paper-processing machine.