The Sugar Act seeks to provide for the development, regulation and promotion of the sugar industry and equally address pricing of sugarcane through a specific formula. It also established a sugar board a corporate body with a mandate to regulate the Sugar industry and ensure access to resources.
The Uganda Sugar Manufacturers’
Association is displeased over delays in implementation of the recently enacted
sugar act. The act was signed by the President in April, after four years of push and pull between the executive
and the legislature.
The Sugar Act seeks to provide
for the development, regulation and promotion of the sugar industry and equally
address pricing of sugarcane through a specific formula. It also established a sugar board a corporate
body with a mandate to regulate the Sugar industry and ensure access to
In the Bill, the government had
proposed zoning of 25 kilometres between mills with no more than one mill in a particular
zone. This also meant that each mill would only collect cane from out-growers in
its jurisdiction. Major players
in the industry had also argued that exclusion zones were necessary to prevent
poaching of cane from out-growers by rival factories.
However, the legislators
overwhelmingly voted against zoning saying it allows one manufacturer to
monopolize sugarcane production in an area.
Jim Kabeho, the chairperson of Uganda
Sugar Manufacturers’ Association told Uganda Radio Network -URN that, much as the
industry giants were against the approval of the bill in its’ current form, the
agriculture ministry should quickly install the sugar board which will ensure
quality and market for both the farmers and manufacturers alike.
Kabeho says that the delayed
implementation of the sugar bill threatens the smooth operations of the sugar
industry. He adds that due to the lack of standby teams to enforce regulations
in the new sugar law, a big number of unregistered farmers have engaged in the
trade, forcing millers to crash excess cane beyond their normal operating
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He says that in order to ensure the
smooth operation of the industry, the government should register all cane
farmers in consideration of the millers’ cane crushing capacities which will
guide farmers to engage in other forms of agriculture.
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Kabeho adds that the government
should consider incorporating the element of zoning in the new law, as it helps
millers to track the amount of cane planted by registered farmers and in the long-run limit cases of unconsumed cane within their respective areas of
He says that all millers have a
system of controlling excess cane by registering their farmers and offering
monetary aid which is paid back in terms of cane harvests. This means that millers
cannot purchase surplus cane from unregistered farmers.
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Meanwhile Issa Budhugo, the
chairperson of sugarcane farmers in Busoga sub-region says that during the
sugarcane crisis of 2015, farmers were encouraged to plant more cane even
without registration which attracted more of them to the trade.
Budhugo argues that millers
should suspend crashing of cane from their own plantations for a period of 90
days which he says will reduce on the excess cane.
It is estimated that the four
main sugar manufacturers in Busoga sub-region which comprise of Kakira Sugar
Works Limited, Kaliro Sugar Limited, Kamuli Sugar Limited and Mayuge Sugar Limited
crash about 3 million tonnes annually and living farmers with an excess of
unharvested sugarcane amounting to about 7 million tonnes.
Mature sugarcane is usually
harvested at 24 months, however, most of the farmers are stuck with excess cane for about 36-40 months.