Abdullah Luwangula, a farmer from Luuka district says the influence of politicians has jeopardised the industry as farmers stuck with mature cane are exploited and forced to sell their cane cheaply to middlemen.
The Ministry of Agriculture has since passed out information warning the entire populace to stock enough food. However, the warning might have come in late as many people are likely to have already sold off a number of crops harvested in the recent farming season. Uganda last experienced a major locust invasion in 1961, with immense damage on crops which resulted in acute hunger.
Busoga region has registered 223 reservists that will join their colleagues at Singo military barracks to form Uganda’s battle groups thirty-one and thirty-two which will foster UPDF’s operations under African union mission in Somalia-AMISOM.
Salim Nabongho, a resident of Bulumoko village in Buyanga Sub County says the four had gone to harvest rice in their garden found between Bulumoko and Nkombe villages in Bugweri district this morning during a downpour when they were struck.
Patrick Waiswa, the LC 1 chairperson Nakasedere village says the area is surrounded by sugarcane plantations but the few farmers involved in food crop growing are counting losses due to the wilt infestation.
Museveni noted that although sugar mills within Busoga region are suffering raw material scarcity due to the increased number of mills, there is an increase in the number of cane farmers who lack where to sell their harvest.
Mayuge district headquarters has been a bee hive of activities for the past few days as men with noisy power saws cut down trees in almost all directions. Some trucks were have been ferrying the logs to unknown destination.
Under the MoU, the farmers are required to supply 600 tons of mature sugarcane to the company each day for a period of three months. They will receive Kenya Shillings 4,055 (approximately UGX 146,716) for a ton of cane, two days after delivery. Only farmers registered with the association will be allowed to supply cane upon endorsement by their chairperson.
The farmers under their umbrella; Busoga Sugarcane Out Growers’ Association, argue that the cost of production in terms of fertilizers, cultivation, and transportation of cane from farms to the mills is higher than the payments farmers receive at the end of the chain.
Rt. Rev. Samson Naimanhe, the Bishop of Busoga Diocese who led the thanksgiving service, called for the sensitisation of cane farmers in the region on each clause in the bill before it is discussed by parliament.