Cooperatives urged to take on opportunities in the oil and gas industry

Hoima: Oil companies and the government has urged farmers in Bunyoro sub-region to prepare and take advantage of the existing opportunities in the oil and gas industry.

Jesca Kyeyune, the national content supervisor at CNOOC Uganda limited says the law and regulations had ring-fenced certain areas of business for Ugandans. This was during the training of suppliers and farmers on the oil and gas opportunities held at Kijungu Hill Hotel in Hoima town today.

Kyeyune has explained that there are opportunities for Ugandans to participate in business during the building of the oil pipeline, refinery, and construction of oil fields. She however urged Ugandans to read the laws and regulations on local content.

While opening the training, the chairperson LCV Hoima Kirungi Kadiri challenged Oil companies to always prepare farmers in groups to form cooperatives and be registered in the national suppliers’ database for them to compete with others.

He says having cooperatives is the way to go for farmers to benefit from their yields since they will always have ready markets for their produce.

The Hoima Resident District Commissioner Samuel Kisembo Araali has encouraged farmers to start by forming and registering groups as well as add value to their produce so as to meet the set market.

This is so that they become strong businesses which will create market linkages for member farmers dealing in maize, coffee and beans so they start benefiting from extension services, market linkages, to benefit from the Oil and gas industry.

He added that cooperatives is the best way to fight poverty among Bunyoro farmers and is the only way to benefit from Oil industry through supplying good and services to the companies that will be working in the Oil industry.

But, Fatuma Kirungi Mugisha, who rears goats in Kalyabuhire, Hoima town says although they have been sensitized, it might take them time to meet the required standards due to a number of reasons.

Another farmer, Penina Ruhindi the chairperson Kigaaga Oil refinery community women’s association raised fear over the high quality set by government saying many rural farmers may fail to benefit from the sector.

Activities in the industry are now moving from exploration phase to the production phase of oil. The first oil barrel is expected out of the ground and out of the refinery in 2021.

The opportunities include food supplies, supplying materials such as cement, steel, providing security services, employment opportunities and consulting. Others are training, ICT, administration, transport and logistics among others.

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