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