George William Telebajo, another resident says the project took advantage of the poverty in Buvuma to trick them into selling their land cheaply. He notes that several residents have ended up in jail for stealing food while others are now sleeping in wooden cubical at landing sites.
in Buvuma district have taken to oil palm growing at the expense of food
growing. Fishing and subsistence farming were the mainstay of Buvuma residents
prior to the introduction of oil palm growing.
However, the residents have surrendered the biggest part of
the land they used to plant food crops such as bananas, rice, cassava, maize
and sweet potatoes on the main island to National Oil Palm Project-NOPP for the
establishment of oil palm gardens. NOPP intends to operate on 10, 000 hectares
The investor Buvuma – Oil Palm Uganda Limited-BOPUL, a subsidiary of Oil Palm Uganda Limited and Bidco Uganda Limited in Kalangala
will use 6, 500 hectares of land while the out-growers will use the remaining 3,
However, since their compensation in 2012, most of the residents
have failed to secure alternative land for settlement and food production. Sarasino
Namuyimba Ssekajjolo, the Buvuma District Council Speaker, says they have
compiled enough information proving that most of the residents have not
benefited in the first stages of the project.
He says they are considering tabling
a motion halting further land acquisition in areas where NOPP has not concluded
the exercise. Ssekajjolo reveals that
over 1000 residents have failed to make good use of the money they received as
compensation for their land.
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A report compiled by Mary Namaganda, the Principal Assistant Curator at
Makerere University Collage of Nature Sciences shows that land use change in
Bugala [Kalangala] from natural vegetation to monoculture plantation has caused
biodiversity loss due to the destruction of the natural habitat, soil
degradation and pollution of soil and lake water resulting from the use of nitrate
fertilizers, agrochemicals and effluents from the palm oil mill.
BOPUL also intends to setup a mill. Godfrey Yiga, a resident
of Kirongo says that he secured another piece of land in Jinja using the
Shillings 59 million he received in compensation for his 5-acre piece of land
containing a banana plantation, sweet plantains and mangoes. He, however, says
that he couldn’t use the remaining balance to setup a new garden.
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Nasta Nantongo Kwagala, another resident and widow of the late Yosefu
Kavamawanga who cares for seven children and three grandchildren, says NOPP
compensated the tenants on her late husband’s land without her consent. She explains
that by the time she applied for compensation, she was chased and stopped from
farming on the land.
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George William Telebajo, another resident says the project
took advantage of poverty in Buvuma to trick them into selling their land
cheaply. He notes that several residents have ended up in jail for stealing food
while others are now sleeping in wooden cubical at landing sites.
Reports from the District Security Commit-DSC point to increased cases of food
theft in different camps on landing sites and settlements in forest reserves. Juma
Kigongo, the Buvuma Deputy Resident District Commissioner, says about 10 cases
of food theft are reported at police and local councils-LCI every month in the
four sub counties on the main island.
include Nairambi, Buwooya, Busamuzi and Buvuma town council. He, however, says
most of the people involved in criminal activities are residents who accepted
compensations but failed to put the money to good use.
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Wilson Sserunjogi, the Buvuma District Oil Palm Project
Focal Person, says that many people have failed to put their compensation money
to good use much as the project has tried to support them. He notes that for
the past years they have been handling complaints and compensated thousands of
residents fresh but they keep on coming back for more money after misusing it.
“Residents and leaders are scared for nothing, Buvuma still has land for
growing food and also NOPP is here to support them. We also compensated
residents with land over 5 acres and above,” he said.