HOIMA, December 14, 2023 – The subjects of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom have been challenged to form cooperative societies if they want to benefit from the oil and gas sector.
According to Charles Kajura, the production officer in Hoima district, if people in the kingdom continue to work as individuals, it will be difficult for them to take advantage of the business opportunities offered by the oil and gas sector.
He noted that when people are organised into cooperatives, they can deliver quality products to the market, moreover in required quantities.
Kajura made the call while addressing hundred farmers and local suppliers during the China National Offshore Oil Corporation [CNOOC] National Content Supply Development Workshop aimed at tackling farmers’ supply challenges as they deal with the contractors in the oil and gas sector.
The meeting was organised by CNOOC in partnership with Bunyoro Research Agency and Development Organisation [BRADO] aimed at increasing local participation in supply of goods and services in the oil sector.
Martine Byaruhanga, the Executive director of BRADO said the meeting was organised working in groups or cooperatives is the easiest way for the farmers the farmers can use to get business in the oil and gas sector.
Lt. Col. Gerald Rungarika, the Division Administration officer at Masindi field Artillery said that Bunyoro has a lot of potential for the development but many people are not prepared.
He said Bunyoro has fertile soil for farming but unfortunately its people have not utilised it to grow food crops like rice, tomatoes and Irish potatoes, which he said are being brought in from other regions of Uganda.
He commended CNOOC and BRADO for engaging the local people so that they can benefit from the oil and gas sector.
Hoima district deputy resident commissioner Michael Kyakashari urged the locals to engage in agriculture, hospitality and health sectors
He noted that the Bunyoro region has favorable soils for banana, maize, and potato production but this opportunity is not utilised.
He added that government is supporting organised groups with funds through its programmes such as Emyooga and the Parish Development Model [PDM], adding that such funds would help farmers in food production.
John Vita Isingoma, the Coordinator Kitara Development Initiative expressed concern over delayed payment of the suppliers goods by the oil contractors who he said take a period of three to four months to pay after receiving the supplies.
He noted that there is a need to have a system where suppliers get paid immediately or after one week of supplying goods so as to remain in business.
John Byaruhanga, and David Atuhaire, vegetable farmers from Buswekera cell in Hoima City said that there has been a challenge of information gap, adding that sometimes suppliers are ignorant of what the company needs.
Recently James Okwi, the Skills Development Officer at the Petroleum Authority of Uganda [PAU] noted that farmers have been trained on the standards required to supply the oil and gas industry, adding that PAU will further help farmers so that they directly supply oil companies instead of going through middlemen.
Some of the oil projects in Hoima include the refinery which is being constructed in Kabaale village, and the Kabalega International Airport also being built.
The Albertine region where Hoima falls is home to the country’s largest oil and gas reserves, estimated at 6.5 billion barrels. Uganda plans to drill its first oil by 2025.
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