Buvama, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Buvuma District authorities are concerned about the poor state of road connecting to out grower’s gardens ahead of the planting of palm oil seedlings.
The National Oil Palm Project-NOPP is finalising preparations to receive about 36, 000 seedlings from Benin in March this year for planting in nursery beds in Buvuma district before they are distributed to farmers for planting.
At the start of the Palm oil project, the National Oil Palm Project promised to establish a good road network to ease transportation of seedlings from the nursery bed to the main garden.
The same roads are expected to ease the transportation of oil palm fruit bunches to the mill during harvest.
However, Buvuma District authorities are worried that the roads haven’t been worked on as planned yet the start of the project is just a few days away.
Alex Mabiriizi, the Buvuma District LC V Chairperson, says farmers risk making losses once the seedlings are not delivered on time because of bad roads.
NOPP is providing the seedlings to the farmers in form of a loan on top of giving them money for clearing their gardens and fertilisers. The money will be recovered during the harvest period.
“Farmers are most likely to take long to settle off their loans and make use of the money from the project to develop themselves. Everything about oil palm in Buvuma has been very slow making it hard to convince us that NOPP can open the roads on time,” Mabiriizi said.
James Nambula, one of the prospective out growers in Buvuma Sub County, says he is scared of getting involved in project that is likely to fail midway.
He cites farmers he visited in Kalangala district, whose roads to the gardens are still pending construction.
Nambula says many farmers will need serious manpower beyond trucks to transport seedlings to their gardens given the fact that most of the routes are impassable.
The Buvuma District Oil Palm Focal Person, Wilson Sserunjogi appeals to the leaders and farmers to remain calm, saying the project hasn’t backtracked on opening roads.
He says they are in the process of hiring trucks and manpower to ensure that farmers are not burdened with transporting seedlings at the initial stage.
The project targets 10,000 hectares, of which 6500 will be used by Oil Palm Uganda Ltd-OPUL, a subsidiary of Bidco Uganda limited and the remaining 3500 hectares will be utilised by out growers.
Sserunjogi indicates that about 8, 000 out growers have been registered.