11 December 2018

Uganda: Farmers Disappointed As Rice Hullers Lie Idle for Eight Years

Rice hullers that were meant to increase quality production in Pallisa, Budaka and Kibuku districts have been lying idle for the past eight years.

The hullers were acquired under the Community Agricultural Infrastructure Improvement programme (CAIIP) with funding from African Development Bank at Shs1.4b in 2010.

The machines were meant to help small-scale farmers promote agro processing, storage and market their produce.

Mr Charles Kadyama, the Kibuku LC5 chairperson, said the project was set for commissioning but the then Minister of State for Local Government, Mr Alex Onzima, halted it over allegations of shoddy work.

"The government injected billions of money into the construction of buildings and buying machines but now, they are lying idle and not helping the intended farmers," Mr Kadyama said.

"We are under pressure from the residents, who are demanding answers about why the structures were built and hullers brought only to be abandoned," he added.

Mr Robert Watala, a rice farmer in Bulangira Sub-county, said government has disappointed them.

"We were happy because they told us that we will be in position to add value to our rice and it fetches more money. This has never happened," Mr Watala said.

Mr John Micheal Okurut, the Pallisa LC5 chairperson, said the project failed due to non-involvement of local leaders. "The ministry did everything without the involvement of the district. However, the district is trying to streamline and have it operationalised," Mr Okurut said.

Under the project, government also injected about Shs800m for re-opening of roads and Shs490m for construction of markets in the districts.

Mr Sam Mulomi, the Budaka LC5 boss, appealed to government to revive the the project.

The Pallisa Deputy District Commissioner, Mr Onyango Emokol, said his office will follow up the matter.

STRUCTURES

The districts received two hullers each. In Kibuku, two buildings were constructed for the rice hullers in Bulangira and Kugumu sub-counties while in Pallisa, they were built in Apoponga and Kakoro sub-counties. In Budaka, they were built in Kamonkoli and Nabiketo sub-counties.

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