Sugarcane farmers from the counties of Bukanga, Waibuga and Nawampiti in Luuka district have petitioned Parliament over denial of supply permits by the sugar processing factories.
Julius Muliiko, a lawyer from Luuka presented the petition on behalf of the farmers to Speaker Rebecca Kadaga on Thursday, 22 April 2021. He cited foul play by some farmers who allegedly connive with the factory owners to get permits while the majority are denied.
Muliiko said that the sugar factories approached farmers in Busoga and encouraged them to plant sugarcane with the hope that they would supply the cane to them. He adds that some famers were given recommendation letters to enable them access bank loans.
“People from Kakira Sugar Works and Mayuge Sugar Limited hoodwinked the farmers into sugarcane farming with promises of buying their produce only to turn on them,” he added.
Muliiko said that when it came to granting these farmers sugarcane supply permits and buying their produce, the factory owners did not follow through as they had promised.
“These farmers had taken loans hoping that they would be able to repay once they sold off their produce. However, when this happened they were unable to pay these loans and ended up frustrated with some losing their property and committing suicide,” he added.
Muliiko appealed to Parliament to intervene in the matter and also asked the Speaker to remind the President of his promise to construct a sugar factory for the farmers in the region.
Speaker Kadaga promised to arrange a meeting between the farmers’ associations and the concerned sugar factories.
She added that she would ensure that the Uganda Development Corporation is funded in the next National Budget for the Sugar Processing Mill for the local farmers.
Kadaga also promised to follow up on the constitution of the Sugar Board which is provided for in the Sugar Act so that it can intervene in such disputes.