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Sugarcane Cooperatives Will Save Farmers

MASINDI – On his inauguration day, May 20, Cosmas Byaruhanga promised to use his second term as Masindi District LCV chairperson to get farmers in all sectors in the western district organized into cooperatives, especially sugarcane cooperatives.

"We are going to mobilize farmers to organize themselves into cooperatives because when they are in cooperatives they will be understanding each other. This will also help them have a bargaining ground to demand what is due to them," said Byaruhanga, who said is serving his last term as LC-V chairman.

He was sworn into office together with all elected district leaders by Masindi Chief Magistrate, Johnson Ssejjemba at the district headquarters.

Byaruhanga also said he wants to ensure that sugarcane farmers are organized into cooperatives. 

"Sugarcane is the backbone of Masindi. It pumps more than Shs 3 billion in the district in a year. All the developments you are seeing in Masindi are because of sugarcane," Byaruhanga explained.

In all, 38 councilors were sworn in from 18 sub counties and town councils, which form Masindi District.

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The function was also attended by the newly elected members of parliament; Kenneth Kiiza Nyendwoha  for Bujenje Constituency, Ronald Akugizibwe Aled, for Buruli County and Joab Businge, for Masindi Municipality.

They all promised to work with the LC-V to develop the district.

Background

Earlier this year, Byaruhanga pushed for the revival of all sugarcane cooperatives formed by sugarcane farmers in the 1970s.

“Sugarcane cooperatives are so necessary. They would help sugarcane farmers during times of crisis. These sugarcane cooperatives existed and we are now going to trace their registration numbers. I know they are there with the registrar of cooperatives," said Byaruhanga, who is also the chairperson of Masindi District Sugarcane Farmers Association Limited (MASGAL). He was speaking then during an extra ordinary meeting for Bwijanga Coffee Farmers Cooperative in Bwijanga Sub County.

Byaruhanga explained that they need to revive sugarcane cooperatives so that they can form a union, which will give them a firm bargaining ground to lobby for their own sugar factory.

"If we want to get our own sugar factory, that's the only way to go. Let's unite into cooperatives if we are to address our challenges," he noted.

He added that sugarcane farmers are grappling with many challenges such as over grown cane, spillage, low prices and too much cane.

"These challenges can be addressed when we have got our own sugar factory. We have a lot of cane which can feed it.

According to the statistics from MASGAL, there are over 7000 sugarcane out growers in Masindi district producing around 1.2 million tons of sugarcane. 

Byaruhanga is optimistic that with this number they can get a sugar factory and sustain it.

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