Farmers in Luweero have petitioned the state minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Lieutenant Colonel Bright Rwamirama protesting the alleged diversion of over 800 million shillings meant to build the first fruit processing plant in the district.
The farmers are accusing Uganda Development Corporation (UDC) and the ministry of agriculture of diverting more than 800 million shillings to another plant in Mpigi district.
The petitioners’ claim the money to construct the factory was donated by President Yoweri Museveni in 2008. Joseph Ssebugenyi, the chairman of Luweero pineapple farmers says, the president donated one billion shillings for the construction of a fruit factory, to add value to abundant pineapples in the district.
Ssebugenyi claims the ministry of agriculture released only 115 million which was used to purchase the land on which the factory could be constructed. The whereabouts of the balance is unknown and the farmers still tell the old story- “we are stranded with pineapples”.
The Councilor for Butuntumula sub county Imram Mukiibi says that Uganda Development Corporation and the Ministry of Agriculture allegedly diverted the funds to build another fruit plant in Mpigi district.
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The Luweero Production Officer, Dr George William Namugera, asked the minister to investigate the matter.
Minister Bright Rwamirama who was in Luweero on an agricultural tour was shocked to learn that the project has stalled. He promised to institute a probe team to investigate the whereabouts of the funds.
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There are over 1800 acres of pineapples in district and 98% of the pineapples are sold without value addition, Accordingto the Luweero agriculture department.