Kabarole residents demand answers on stalled agro-industrial park
KABAROLE -Kabarole district residents are demanding answers from their leaders over the stalled agro-industrial park that was launched in 2018 by Gen. Salim Saleh, the Operation Wealth Creation [OWC] national coordinator.
Construction of the agro-industrial park was supposed to commence in 2019 but four years later there is no activity at the proposed site in Kyembogo, Rwengaju Sub-county in Kabarole district.
Henry Kyomuhendo, a concerned citizen stressed that the industrial park would address unemployment challenges in the region and help farmers in adding value to their produce but its establishment has been long overdue.
“Most of the industrial parks that were supposed to be constructed kicked off but ours here is just in limbo. We want our leaders to explain to us what is happening and what they are doing as our leaders,” Kyomuhendo said.
Mable Kembabazi, a resident of Busoro Sub-county said they have not heard from the district authorities regarding the progress of the park and yet they had hopes that it would address the problem of unemployment in the region.
She said farmers were also excited that the park would help them add value to their produce but their hopes have been lost.
Gilbert Muhumuza, a resident of Rwengaju appealed to leaders to push for the establishment of the park to ensure government fulfills its promise to the people of Rwenzori Sub-region.
The Kabarole district LCV chairperson, Richard Rwabuhinga said the district council is yet to resolve the land ownership issue that has stalled the establishment of the park.
“The land where the proposed site for the establishment of the park is located needs to be reverted from the Uganda Land Commission [ULC] to Uganda Investment Authority and we are working tooth and nail to ensure that is done,” Rwabuhinga said.
Rwabuhinga revealed that he petitioned President Museveni to help the district in ensuring that they relocate National Agricultural Research Organisation [NARO] so that they can get back their land.
This reporter has learnt that Kabarole district local government and NARO’s Rwebitaba Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute [ZARDI] are locked in a disagreement.
At the centre of the dispute is the land where the industrial park is supposed to be established.
The industrial park was to be established with the purpose of adding value to farmers’ produce such as bananas, tea, dairy, coffee, milk, and cocoa among others in the region.
The dispute stems from a 2014 presidential directive to ULC to allocate 200 acres of land located at Kyembogo in Rwengaju Sub County to Mountains of the Moon University to set up a dairy research centre.
In 2012, NARO took over management of Kyembogo and it became a ZARDI. Kyembogo located in Rwengaju Sub County was formerly the District Agricultural Training and Information Centre [DATIC].
Currently, NARO is using part of the land for research and technology dissemination in livestock, crop, fisheries and forestry.
While searching for 500 acres of land where to establish an industrial park in Kabarole, the minister of state for privatization and investment Evelyne Anite found out that the district had secured only 100 acres which is at the same time contested.
“We need 500 acres of land where the Industrial park will be established and it should neither be in a wetland nor encumbered. I have realized that this land is contested and it is between government institutions, you need to sit and harmonise,” she noted.
Adding that, “The district should work with the Uganda Investment Authority [UIA] because as you can hear from the director Rwebitaba ZARDI, Raboon Tumuhimbise, NARO has 200 acres, the district has 100 acres and Mountains of the Moon University has 200 acres of land.”
UIA was tasked to develop 25 industrial and business parks around the country with an aim of creating more jobs, easing accessibility to land for investments, introduce new research, technologies and skills development as well as boosting Uganda’s exports hence increasing Uganda’s revenue base.
The completion of these industrial parks will add value to locally available raw materials thus boosting the agricultural and mineral sectors.
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