12 July 2018

Uganda: Masindi Farmers Have Sugarcane but No Food

Hunger has hit parts of Masindi District as farmers use land previously used to cultivate food crops for sugarcane growing.

The district speaker, Mr Moses Kirya, says there is a food shortage in Bwijanga, Budongo, Karujubu and Nyangahya sub-counties as many people opt to feed Kinyara Sugar Works with sugarcane.

Mr Kirya blames Kinyara and the production department for not observing and enforcing the district ordinance which was passed on June 23, last year requiring all sugarcane growers to use 10 per cent of their land for food crop production.

"It is the weakness of Kinyara and our production department for not observing the law," Mr Kirya says.

The district production officer, Ms Prudence Alituha, says they cannot enforce the law stating that it is the role of the sub-county chiefs.

"As technical people, we participated in the developing of the ordinance and the enforcement is not ours," Ms Alituha says.

Reason

The Masindi chief administrative officer, Mr Cristopher Okumu, says people have heavily invested in growing sugarcanes due to the desire to quick get money which is the cause of hunger.

"The problem is that even the poor who would ensure food crop farming hire out their land to sugarcane farmers," he says.

He further says the enforcement of the Ordinance is still a challenge since most people may have not been consulted at the time of drafting the law.

"We can easily enforce the law if some people have complied, how can you enforce the law when majority of farmers have not complied," he asks.

Mr Joseph Mugisa, a resident of Kinyara says they hire out their land to sugarcane farmers in search of money to take their children to school.

"We would plant food crops but those who hire our land give us a lot of money," Mr Mugisa says.

The Bwijanga Sub-county councillor, Ms Mary Mujumura, says every family has suffered hunger due to poverty but there is hope for food since many people in the area have planted food crops now.

"We understand that there is hunger in our area but there is hope for food because people have planted food crops," Ms Mujumura says.

Mr Job Byaruhanga, the Masindi agriculture officer, says they are aware of the food shortage in the district due to prioritising sugarcane growing.

"Our farmers are not observing the district ordinance to increase food production and we blame Kinyara Sugar Works for not guiding the farmers," he says.

Mr Byaruhanga says cassava stems and banana suckers have been supplied to farmers in affected areas in a bid to increase food production and reduce hunger.

He says the district leadership should increase funding to enable them sensitise farmers on how to focus on food production.

Poor sensitisation

Mr Kenneth Nyendwoha, the Budongo Sub-county chairman, says the district ordinance is not being implemented in his area due to poor sensitisation of the people.

According to the Masindi production department and Environmental Management Ordinance 2017, every homestead in the district is required to have a granary and a sugarcane farmer is required to use 10 per cent of his or her land for food crops.

According to a survey carried out in 2013 by Makerere University School of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in the sub-counties of Budongo, Bwijanga and Karujubu, among others, the sugar industry is important in the economy of Uganda as it provides employment and income to sugarcane out-growers and the employees in the industry.

According to a survey carried out in 2013 by Makerere University School of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in the sub-counties of Budongo, Bwijanga and Karujubu, among others, the sugar industry is important in the economy of Uganda as it provides employment and income to sugarcane out-growers and the employees in the industry.

Uganda

Don't Allow to Be Misled By Opposition - Museveni

President Museveni has asked the people of Rubirizi District to shun Opposition propaganda, saying they are not… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2018 The Monitor. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 600 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.