Kenneth Opoka the Local Chairperson for Lulai Village says that hundreds of farmers in his area have resorted to small scale farming majorly around their homesteads for fears that they may be attacked while cultivating in distant places.
The seasonal weather information obtained from the Weather Information and Dissemination System (WIDS), an Application developed by Makerere University and Uganda Meteorological Authority (UNMA) to forecast weather indicates that near normal rainfall is expected over the Northern and Eastern Northern Regions.
Unlike in the previous years, farmers in Acholi Sub Region would start opening their farmlands between the months of late January and March ready for the first planting seasons which starts by mid-March every year.
But this year, the majority of farmers in the region have not started ploughing their farmlands and preparations for this year`s planting season citing projected aridity.
Michael Lakony, the LCV Chairperson Amuru, says that their quest and constant plea with the community to offer them land for the construction has been met with resistance since 2019 leaving them helpless.
Although the burnt sugarcane can still be used, Kidega says they lose their juice after some time, hence, the need to expediate its harvest. He reveals that the management of the company also plans to buy fresh sugarcane to improve the quality of the final product.
Susan Atim, another resident of the same area says that most leaders who are currently campaigning are talking about improved livelihoods and yet none of them is concerned about the market challenge they are facing, a factor which has continued to derail them from improving their finances and food security. According to Atim, since the leaders have access and connections, they should consider linking them with serious and better buyers at a fair price compared to the local middlemen who want to hugely profit at the expense of the farmers.
Up to 158 claimants have cited interference and influence peddling by politicians in the area who want a share of their land in order to be fraudulently considered for compensation. They argue that once compensated, they would relocate to pave way for the project.
Christopher Anywar says they woke up to the yelling of members of the affected houses on Tuesday morning. Anywar, who is part of those opposed to the land deal, says they are now living in fear of being attacked by the unidentified people.
According to Amuru Deputy RDC Geoffrey Oceng, a security meeting he held with local leaders and the 4th division commander Brigadier Bonny Bamwiseki, held on Sunday gave a seven-day ultimatum to the cattle owners to vacate the area or risk losing their animals.
The verification seeks to identify the legitimate beneficiaries from whose gardens cane seed worth over 300 million shillings was cut by Atiak Sugar Factory with approval of NAADs during the 2019 first planting season.
One of the victims whose houses was burnt identified as Opwonya Laywer says the armed men in came to the area and asked them to leave the area immediately before setting the houses ablaze. Michael Lakony, Amuru district LCV chairperson says this is not the first-time huts are being burnt in the area ever since the border dispute between Amuru and Adjumani started some years back.