Kabuleta warns government against leasing out forest reserves to investors
The leader of the National Economic Empowerment Dialogue (NEED), Joseph Kabuleta has warned the government against leasing out forest reserves to investors in the name of growing sugarcane, noting that the move is increasing poverty among Ugandans.
Kabuleta said only few Ugandans have benefitted from the sugarcane growing and sugar manufacturing business because big people in the government have taken over the business.
“The farmers of sugarcane are operating at a loss because they have to sell at much lower prices. The investors have satellite farms which provide them sugarcane reserves which leaves the regular Ugandan farmer being pushed out without any other sources of livelihood and feeding their families, “he said.
Kabuleta made the remarks shortly after sugarcane farmers in Busoga and Bunyoro sub regions decried the exploitation orchestrated by sugar manufacturing investors and middlemen who have made it a tendency to over depreciate the prices of their produce.
Lennox Mugume, a sugarcane farmer from Masindi in Bunyoro sub region, said although the sugarcane growing business was once lucrative, it had recently become a ‘poverty trap’ except for the investors.
“Farmers of sugarcane back then used to get a lot of money to sustain their wellbeing but of late it has become a poverty trap where no one gains even a penny from sugarcane growing, “said Mugume during a news conference held in Kampala.
Mugume explained it was currently difficult to join the out growers association since the investors took over the body of small scale farmers and heavily controlled it as a way of ensuring that the exploited farmers do not unite to demand better deals.
Dennis Wambuzi, a sugarcane grower from Jinja, claimed that the investors stopped giving out permits to the small scale farmers, reserving the permits for the powerful and wealthy such as politicians and top officials in government.
Kabuleta warned foreign investors who have made it a habit to exploit Ugandans that they should get ready to face the citizens when President Museveni leaves power.
He said even the Masindi Sugarcane Association which was selling sugar cane to other zones and providing hope for the sugarcane farmers in Masindi was stopped recently without a clear reason.
Source – Nilepost.co.ug