Palm Oil project: Buvuma Residents Complain Over Compensation Monies

2254 Views Buvuma District, Uganda

In short
Paul Baligeya, one of the residents says he was among those who signed for the money but later on realized he was given very little money since some of his properties like trees were not counted.

As the compensation of Buvuma Island residents to pave way for the vegetable oil development project nears competition, some of the residents have expressed concern about the compensation monies.
 

The second phase of the Vegetation oil development project is implemented by the Agriculture, Animal industry and Fisheries Ministry.



The project has been compensating residents of Buvuma Island since 2010 to acquire 6500 hectares for palm tree growing by the end of this year.  The project has already acquired 5000 hectares and compensated the landlords and Bibanja owners.

 
However, some of the residents have complained about the compensation monies, saying their land was undervalued while others argue that the money is little.


Paul Baligeya, one of the residents says he was among those who signed for the money but later on realized he was given very little money since some of his properties like trees were not counted.
 
According to Baligeya, he was paid Shillings UGX 9 Million for 4 acres of land yet an acre of land goes for between Shillings 2 Million to 3million in the area.


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Aggrey Hatasi from Nkusi village in Busamuzi Sub county and Samuel Kirunda from Buwangwe also say that their land was chopped after being surveyed.


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Some of the residents told URN on condition of anonymity that despite accepting the compensation, money is yet to hit their accounts three months after they were promised payment.  The affected residents are no longer allowed to use the land even when they haven't been compensated.



James Mugerwa, the Focal person of the Vegetation Oil Development project in Buvuma, said they policy is "Willing buyer, willing seller" which means that the people are not forced to give up their land.
 



He also dismisses claims that residents were paid little money, saying majority of them don't know how to handle money and could have blown it that is why they are complaining.

 
Connie Mugerwa, project manager of Vegetation oil development project, said no resident was cheated, adding that they used a GPS system to survey the land
 
 
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The project has paid out more than Shillings 60 billion in compensation. More than 10,000 people have not been compensated yet.



This project is worth USD 147.2 million and is financed by the government of Uganda and other partners aiming at poverty alleviation in the country.