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Hoima Sugar Gives 3 Month Ultimatum to Encroachers with Crops to Vacate

The 200 farmers are part of the more than 20,000 people who encroached on part of the Bugoma forest land that Hoima Sugar Limited leased from Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom for 99 years to carry out sugarcane growing.
Albertine Regional Police commander-RPC Vincent Mwesigye dressing some of the encroachers after their eviction from part of the Bugoma forest reserve that belongs to Hoima sugar limited.

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The management of Hoima Sugar Limited has given a three-month ultimatum to more than 200 farmers to harvest their crops from the company land and leave. 

 

The 200 farmers are part of the more than 20,000 people who encroached on part of the Bugoma forest land that Hoima sugar limited leased from Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom for 99 years to carry out sugarcane growing.

In April, Police backed by Uganda Peoples Defense Forces -UPDF soldiers invaded Bugoma central forest reserve and forcefully evicted more than 20,000 people that were conducting illegal activities such charcoal burning, cultivation, harvesting timber among others on part of the Bugoma forest land that is being claimed by Hoima Sugar Limited.

The encroachers had occupied over 4,000 acres of land belong to Hoima Sugar Limited.

It is alleged that the evictees raided the forest land after Hoima sugar limited leased it from Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom and started conducting various activities including charcoal burning, timber harvesting while others had planted crops such as rice, maize and beans among others. 

 

During the eviction, their crops were destroyed, houses torched and several bags of charcoal confiscated by the security operatives.  

This was after Hoima Sugar protested the invasion by the people on its land that the management said was frustrating their efforts to utilize the land for sugar cane growing.

However, after their forceful eviction from the contested piece of land, leaders in Kikuube have been pleading with Hoima Sugar Limited to allow people who had planted crops on their land in Bugoma forest reserve to first harvest their crops before they are discontinued from using the land.

 

Now Amlan Tumusiime, the Kikuube Resident District Commissioner-RDC says Hoima Sugar Limited has allowed the encroachers who had planted crops to harvest the crops within a period of three months and vacate the land. He says security will closely monitor the farmers as they harvest their crops.

He warned the encroachers to desist from carrying out any other illegal activities on the land apart from harvesting their crops. 

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Ganesan Suresh, the Hoima Sugar limited Estate Manager says the invasion of encroachers on their land is frustrating their efforts to utilize the land that they leased from Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom.  

He says the farmers should strictly utilize the three months offered to them to have their crops harvested from the land saying no other grace period will be offered to them.

Vincent Alpha Opio, the Kikuube LCV Vice chairperson says this is a big milestone to the encroachers now that they have been allowed to harvest their crops.

Alex Bakankunda, one of the encroachers applauded leaders in Kikuube for engaging Hoima Sugar Limited that has allowed them to harvest their crops saying they were at the verge of starvation.

Several thousand people have allegedly encroached on Hoima sugar limited land since it leased it from Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom.

On Tuesday this week, two officials from Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom were arrested for alleged extortion of shillings 150 million from members of the public by promising to rent to them part of the Bugoma forest land that was leased by Hoima sugar limited from the Kingdom.

The suspects are Gerald Baleke and Moses Busobozi, the chiefs of Buhaguzi and Kyangwali counties respectively under the Bunyoro Kitara kingdom. 

 

They were picked up on the orders of the Kikuube Resident District Commissioner-RDC Amlan Tumusiime following numerous complaints from their victims.  

 

The two officials are implicated in extorting money from more than 50 residents from Muhangaizima, Nyairongo, and Ngogoli villages in Kabwoya and Kyangwali sub-counties with promises of hiring out to them part of the Bugoma forest land that the Kingdom leased to Hoima sugar limited for sugar cane growing.

They are currently being detained at Kikuube central police station on charges of extortion.      

Hoima Sugar Limited leased close to 22 square miles of the contested Bugoma Central Forest reserve land from the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom for sugarcane growing for 99 years.

    

However, the National Environment Management Authority -NEMA found that 13 of the 22 square miles are unfit for a sugar plantation and recommended their preservation since it is a wetland and forest reserve.       

As a result, NEMA allowed Hoima Sugar factory to cultivate sugarcane on the remaining 9.24 square miles covering the grassland, establish an urban center on 1.26 square miles, an eco-tourism centre on 1.97 square miles and restore 3.13 square miles of the forest reserve.

  

They also recommended the preservation of another 0.156 hectares for a cultural site and 6.17 square miles as a natural forest.