Leaders from the Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) secretariat have called upon the leadership of Bunyoro sub-region to mobilize sugarcane farmers to form cooperatives.
The call was made by former minister for Information and the Presidency, Kabakumba Labwoni Masiko on Wednesday this week while addressing Resident District Commissioners, District Internal Security Officers and NRM district chairpersons from Bunyoro sub-region.
Kabakumba, who is now the director of sugarcane value chain at the OWC secretariat, represented OWC Chief Coordinator Gen. Salim Saleh at the event, and urged leaders to prioritize cooperatives, saying farmers need to work jointly if they are to achieve economic success.
“I call upon you as leaders, to mobilize the masses to organize themselves into cooperatives. The future belongs to the organized,” Kabakumba said.
Bunyoro sub-region, one of Uganda’s leading sugarcane producers, has four sugar factories including Kinyara Sugar Works Limited, Hoima Sugar Factory, Kiryandongo Sugar Limited and Bwendero Sugar Factory.
While presenting a report at the workshop, Prof. Eria Hisali, the Principal of Makerere University’s College of Business and Management Sciences, noted that sugarcane farmers face several challenges including exploitation and manipulation by the processors, low yields, and price volatility.
“The millers give credit facilities such as fertilizers at a high interest rate. Eventually, the farmers are tied down with the contract and have to sell to them after harvesting,” Hisali said.
“Millers also delay to harvest the cane and eventually, once overgrown, the cane weighs less and that would bring less returns to the farmer,” Hisali added.
Earlier this year, sugar processing giant, Kinyara Sugar Works Limited butted heads with its biggest supplier- Masindi Sugar Cane Out growers’ Association Ltd (MASGAL)- over a proposed new cane price by the processor, which farmers said was too low.
However, Kabakumba said millers are also faced with some challenges such as unhealthy competition from other players in the industry.
Maj. Martha Asiimwe, the head of RDC’s secretariat, said leaders need to use the available information provided in order to improve service delivery, urging them to work jointly as a team.
“We are here to equip and empower you to ensure that we create the linkages that have been missing. We want you to appreciate the resources that you have and ensure that you use them effectively for improved service delivery,” Maj. Asiimwe said.
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