Uganda: Out Growers Stranded As Factory Delays to Buy Sugar Cane

21 January 2020

Over 100 sugar cane out growers in Njeru Municipality, Buikwe District are stranded with sugarcane after managers of GM Sugar Factory delayed to buy it from them.

"Our cane is almost drying up but the company is giving priority to their own sugar cane. We have to wait for their trucks to offload before they can think about ours and this can take another week," Ibrahim Namabunda, a sugar cane out grower told Daily Monitor over the weekend.

However, Eddy Poya, the chairperson GM Sugar Factory says the out growers were warned against harvesting the cane since the company still had a lot of cane in stores, but they did not take heed.

"It is true, trucks for out growers are not being offloaded, but we have nothing to do no until the company cane is harvested," Mr Poya says.

Jacob Odur, a transport manager at GM Sugar Factory says they are making arrangements to see how out-growers can be helped.

"We know what they are going through, but it was their fault and we doing our best to help them out," he says.

A tonne of sugarcane, which cost Shs120, 000 in 2018 has now dropped to Shs110,000.

To nip the problem in the bud, James Isabirye, a transporter, calls for the establishment of more sugar factories. He says the existing ones cannot absorb all the cane harvested by out growers.

"We need more sugar factories to solve this problem because we always come and spend weeks stranded here. Yet, if we had more people to supply to, we would make more money," he said.

Currently, Uganda has ten sugar factories and more ten others are set to join the industry in the near future. Majority of the sugar factories are concentrated in Busoga sub region.

The sugar sub sector contributes over sh54b in revenue to the government through value added tax and excise duty tax.

It employs 20,000 people directly and another 50,000 indirectly in the out-grower farms.

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