Another land owner has come out with a proposal offering the Mehta family up to 14600 hectares of land for sugar cane growing, in a bid to stop the planned give away of Mabira forest. Sharad Patel, the owner of the defunct Sango Bay Sugar factory is offering the land located in Rakai district.
Sharad Patel, the owner of the defunct Sango Bay Sugar factory is offering the land located in Rakai district.
The Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi last week repeated his 2007 offer of giving Mehta an alternative piece of land to save Mabira.
Patel has asked Rakai leaders led by Mathias Kasamba, the Kakuuto Member of parliament to table his offer to parliament so as to save Mabira forest. He was on Tuesday meeting Rakai district leaders who visited the plantation on a fact-finding mission on why the factory has up to now failed to be revamped.
Sango Bay sugar factory, which was one of the largest sugar producers in the country in 1970s, sits on close to 20000 hectares of land.
The owner of the factory says he is willing to offer close to 14600 hectares of land on his uncultivated sugar plantation to save the controversial giveaway of Mabira forest.
President Yoweri Museveni recently re-ignited the Mabira debate when revived the 2007 plan to give away up to 7100 hectares of Mabira land to Lugazi-based Sugar Corporation of Uganda Limited (SCOUL). This, the president says, is aimed at solving the sugar scarcity on the country. SCOUL is one of three major sugar producers in the country and is owned by the Mehta family.
But Patel warns SCOUL against taking over Mabira forest saying it is likely to cause turmoil for Indians living in Uganda. Patel explains that to avoid likely bloodshed in the country, government should negotiate with him on how to take part of his thousands of unutilized sugar cane plantation in Sango Bay.
Patel has expressed fear that the move could result in to chaos similar to the 2007 Mabira riots, which led to the death of three people including an Indian national.
Patel says Mehta should also consider buying sugar cane from him since he is stuck with several the canes on his plantation in Sango Bay. He says he usually exports some sugarcane to Kagera Sugar factory in Tanzania but he is willing to divert some of it, if Mehta and government are interested.
MP Mathias Kasamba, who led the delegation, told URN that what remains of the sugar plantation is a huge open and unutilized plot of land mostly occupied by herdsmen. Kasamba says government should consider Patel’s offer to avoid possible violence over Mabira giveaway.
// Cue in: “To avoid a paralysis of destroying Mabira….”
Cue out: “…a curtail system.”