Cane Growers Demand Recognition by Agriculture Ministry

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In short
Busoga Sugarcane Growers Association –BSGA has more than 10,000 farmers drawn from ten districts.

Members of Busoga Sugarcane Growers Association–BSGA are demanding recognition by the ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries.  Busoga Sugarcane Growers Association –BSGA has more than 10,000 farmers drawn from ten districts. They claim that, they are unable to access benefits like other agriculturalists because they are placed under the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

The outgrowers who describe their relationship with the trade ministry as acrimonious also accuse it of setting price of their produce, which has affected their income. The cane growers also say that they are fed up of accessing high interest loans since they are not categorized as agriculturalists.

Nuhu Sajjabi, the Coordinator BSGA wonders why people who are not involved in sugar production but spend their time in their plantations are placed under the trade ministry.  He says that canegrowers have missed out on government support under Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries -MAAIF.

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Ayub Kato, a sugarcane grower from Buyengo says he is servicing a loan at an interest rate of 18% yet other agriculturalists get loans at much lower interest rate. Kato thinks they are being exploited because they grow a cash crop. Abu Tibiita, a sugarcane grower from Busedde Sub County blames sugar producers for not helping ease the problems of sugarcane growers.

He says it was wrong to lump Sugarcane growers with sugar manufacturers under the trade ministry. He says their pleas for recognition by the agricultural ministry through Kakira Sugar Limited have not yielded any results. Tibiita says the management of Kakira Sugar Limited continues to recommend them to access high interest rates.

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In 2010 Uganda passed a National Sugar policy under the ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives. Dr. M.R Reddy, the agricultural manager of Kakira Sugar Limited says that they have communicated the grower’s concerns to the trade ministry.