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Poor Working Conditions at Oil Palm Nursery Project Irks Buvuma Officials

“We have talked to the project managers to consider things that matters first. They have always told the people of Buvuma that the project is here to change their live. We think this must be reflected in all areas of life. The population at the site is too big to work without sanitary places this exposes their lives to diseases.” Mabiriizi explains.
Some of the bags filled at the NOPP nursery bed located at Sub County

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Buvuma district officials are concerned about the deplorable conditions of people working on the nursery beds established by the National Oil Palm Project-NOPP in Buwangwe Sub County.  Over 50 people work on the nursery bed under the guidance of five technical staff.     

The workers are currently packing soil in polythene bags in preparations for planting the oil palm seedlings.  However, the workers lack sanitary facilities and safety gears such as gloves, gumboots, helmet and overalls. This state of affairs has drawn the attention of Buvuma district officials, who say they expected the project to change mind set of residents on several issues social and economic aspects. 

The LC V Chairperson, Alex Mabiriizi, says that since many residents lack latrines, they were hopeful that working for NOPP would expose them to a different lifestyle, which would impact positively on their lives.  

“We have talked to the project managers to consider things that matters first. They have always told the people of Buvuma that the project is here to change their live. We think this must be reflected in all areas of life. The population at the site is too big to work without sanitary places this exposes their lives to diseases.” Mabiriizi explains. 

Beatrice Keyijesha, the Lwajje Sub County LC V councilor, says they have made several visits to the nursery bed and wonder how the workers answer nature’s call.  She also expressed concern about the failure by the project to provide the workers with protective gear, saying it exposes them to health and occupational hazards.   

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Muzamiru Bukumune, the LC V Councilor Nairambi Sub County, says they expect such a huge project to provide workers with protective gear.  

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Wilson Sserunjogi, the Buvuma District NOPP Focal Point Person, acknowledges the absence of places of sanitary facilities, saying currently most of the workers travel to Buwangwe trading center, which about a kilometer away to access the public latrine. 

This is something that our engineering team is working on. They have graded land where most of the facilities are going to be set up including toilets and staff quarters,” Sserunjogi he said.