Chinese Farm Accused of Enviromental Degradation

3554 Views Nakaseke, Uganda

In short
Residents and local authorities in Nakaseke have asked government to halt the activities of Hanhe Farm for alleged environmental degradation.

Residents and local authorities in Nakaseke have asked government to halt the activities of Hanhe Farm for alleged environmental degradation. The farm is located at Kasambya village in Kasangombe Sub County in Nakaseke. Hanhe Farm is part of a multipurpose project of Hanhe International Company that belongs to Qui Li Jun, a Chinese Member of parliament. It deals in the production of cabbages, maize and mushrooms.


James Makande, the LC III chairman of Kasangombe Sub County says that Hanhe Farm secured a lease from Nakaseke district land board in 2011 to farm on public land. Makande however accuses the management of Hanhe Farm of diverting the flow of River Lugogo to irrigate its farm and carrying out massive deforestation.                           


He says that the diversion of the river has reduced the water volume in the river affecting members of the community who have using it. Makande explains that the affected residents have petitioned the farm but nothing has been done. Fred Rwabirinda, the councilor of Kinyogogga Sub County accuses the Farm over diverting River Lugogo without authorization from the National Environment Management Authority-NEMA.
 
// Cue in: “The investor…………………’’
 
// Cue out:…………..water usage permit’’//
 
Andrew Mwesigye, a resident of the area says that they petitioned district environment department and National Environment Management Authority to review the activities of the farm but apart from the inspecting and interviewing them nothing has been done. He suspects that the investor could have compromised the officials not to take action. Enock Nyongore, the Nakaseke District Speaker says that the executive is planning to table a motion in the council to compel the farm to review its activities.
 
// Cue out: “Lugogo River……………..
 
  // Cue out:……………..serious measurements’’//
 
The local leaders and residents have petitioned the water and environment minister Maria Mutagamba to cancel the land title issued to the Chinese farm for environmental degradation. They also want her to investigate NEMA and Nakaseke environmental officials for corruption. Naomi Karekaho, NEMA’s publicist declined to comment on the matter saying that she is not aware of the problem.
 

Muhamadi Bagonza, the spokesman Hanhe Farm insists that they are operating under the guidelines of NEMA, but promised to look into the complaints of residents. In September 2011, Ignatius Koomu, Nakaseke LC V chairman protested the location of the farm in a wetland. Koomu said the activities of the farm would degrade the environment but Matia Kassaija, the state minister for finance and planning who represented president Yoweri Museveni at its launch down played the matter.

 

About the author

Brian Luwaga
Since Brian Luwaga joined Uganda Radio Network in 2011, he is still amazed how, "URN is a place that gives journalists a chance to enhance their skills . It gives a journalist an opportunity to adopt and master various aspects of journalism that include radio broadcast, social media, photography and television production."

A practicing journalist since 2009, first with Star FM, Luwaga has always been keen to write about the concerns of the "common person." Based for much of his career in Luweero, Luwaga takes it as a compliment if politicians complain that his reporting is too harsh.

In his journalism, Luwaga likes to merge the past with the present. He believes you cannot understand what is happening now, if you do not have a grounding in the past. Brian Luwaga is the Luweero URN bureau chief. Nakasongola, Nakaseke, Mityana, Mubende and Wakiso districts fall under his docket.

Luwaga is interested in humanitarian work and is a keen Rotarian.