By Priscillar Nyamahunge
The former minister for information and the Presidency, Kabakumba Labwoni Masiko has called upon leaders in Bunyoro sub region to mobilise cane farmers to start up cooperatives.
While representing the Chief Coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation Gen. Salim Saleh, Kabakumba made the call yesterday evening while addressing Resident District Commissioners, District Internal Security Officers and NRM district chairpersons from Bunyoro sub-region at Kolping hotel in Masindi.
Currently the director of sugarcane value chain at OWC secretariat, Kabakumba said farmers need to work jointly if they are to achieve.
“Masindi has had challenges of one group after the other but I call upon you as leaders, to mobilise the masses to organise themselves into cooperatives. The future belongs to the organised,” Kabakumba said.
Apparently Bunyoro has four sugar factories which include; Kinyara, Hoima Kiryandongo, and Bwendero. “Apart from Bwendero, all the others belong to one group, RAI,” Kabakumba said.
She also reechoed the presidential directive prohibiting people with less than two hectares from growing cane. “For those who do not have enough land, let us grow food,” she said.
While presenting a report, Prof. Eria Hisali, the Principal at the College of Business and Management Sciences at Makerere University, highlighted some of the challenges being faced by the sugarcane sector.
Among them include; exploitation and manipulation of the farmers by the processors, low yields, and price volatility.
“The millers give credit facilities such as fertilizers at a high interest rate. Eventually, the farmers are tied down with the contract and have to sell to them after harvesting,” Hisali said.
“Millers also delay to harvest the cane and eventually, once overgrown, the cane weighs less and that would bring less returns to the farmer,” Hisali added.
Meanwhile, Kabakumba said millers are also faced with some challenges such as unhealthy competition from other players in the industry.
Maj. Martha Asiimwe, the head of the RDC’s secretariat, said leaders need to use the available information provided inorder to improve service delivery.
“We are here to equip and empower you to ensure that we create the linkages that have been missing. We want you to appreciate the resources that you have and ensure that you use them effectively for improved service delivery,” Maj.Asiimwe said.