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Out Growers Abandon Atiak Sugar Project over Pay

The farmers have also dragged their cooperative administrators and Atiak Sugar Factory, a subsidiary of Horyal Investment Holdings Company to the district labor office seeking justice.
Atiak Sugar Factory, a subsidiary of Horyal Investment Holdings Company LTD in Amuru Disitrict.

Audio 4

Sugarcane out-growers in Amuru district have abandoned farming citing non-payment of their wages.

The farmers have also dragged their cooperative administrators and Atiak Sugar Factory, a subsidiary of Horyal Investment Holdings Company to the district labor office seeking justice.

At least 4,000 farmers, mostly victims of the Lord’s Resistance Army - LRA war were contracted to grow sugarcane on about 4,000 acres out of 15,000 acres of cultivated land in anticipation of earning from its sale to the factory.

Brenda Amony, one of the farmers revealed that they are demanding 18 million shillings each from the factory management for cane seed they sold between 2017 and 2018.

The money is to be channeled through their umbrella body Atiak Sugarcane Planting out Growers’ Cooperative LTD.

Amuru District CAO, Francis Oluka, says that they are already engaging the factory solve the impasse.

//Cue in: “Through my labor.....

Cue out…. the right amount.”//.

Mohammed Ahmed, the Atiak Sugar Project Director says they paid over 300 million shillings to the out-growers.

//Cue in: “Out of their.....

Cue out…. for the cooperative.”//

The Atiak Sugar Cooperative Society Chairperson, Santa Joyce Laker disclosed that National Agriculture Advisory Services – NAADS has remitted about 500 million shillings pending a memorandum of understanding before it is shared by the beneficiaries.

Laker explained that the money was not for the purpose of paying members wages but for tilting the farms, paying for fuel, and buying cane seed.

//Cue in: “The seed cane.....

Cue out…. according to NAADS.”//.

Each of the out-grower households have five acres of land to farm. The farmers are expected to earn from each of the acres 3.6 million shillings for the crops and extra payment for working on the farm. 

The new sugar factory commissioned in May is located in Gem Village, Pachilo Parish, Atiak sub-county in Kilak County.

It has a capacity to crush 1,650 tonnes (1,650,000 kg) of raw cane daily, producing 66,000 tonnes (66,000,000 kg) of powder sugar annually.

NAADS Executive Director, Samuel Mugasi says government has given 20 billion shillings through NAADS to help in crop financing. Mugasi revealed that government has set aside another 53 billion for the next four years for spending to out-growers.