Buvuma, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A new ferry on Lake Victoria has been launched. MV Palm-Uganda’ will ply the route on Lake Victoria from Kiyindi landing site in Buikwe district to Kirongo in Buvuma District.
The four-engine ferry was designed and built by Songoro Marine Transport Limited in Mwanza, Tanzania.
The government secured the vessel through the National Oil Palm Project with funding from the International Fund for Agricultural Development-IFAD at a cost of 12 .5 Billion Shillings.
Speaking at the commissioning of the ferry, the State Minister for Agriculture, Fred Kyakulaga said that the ferry will be handed over to the Ministry of Works and Transport for management. He noted that the ferry was secured mainly to boost agricultural activities in Buvuma Islands besides further improving trade.
The Country Manager of Songoro Marine Transport Limited, Richard Katende says the new vessel doubles the capacity of the existing MV Buvuma ferry. He said that it has a capacity of carrying 519 passengers and 25 vehicles fitted with the necessary navigation and safety equipment.
The 230-tonne ferry is also built with roll-off on both sides and this enables vehicles to be driven straight on and off the vessel. The vessel is able to make a journey for 24 hours without stopping.
Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala, the Minister for Works and Transport implored residents to make good use of the ferry and participate in farming and trade since now the government has solved the challenge of transport on water.
The Buvuma Member of Parliament, Robert Migadde Ndugwa expressed happiness saying people will no longer waste a lot of time waiting as it has been since the new ferry has the capacity to carry a big number of people together with their goods.
“There are times when people could get stuck just because the ferry developed mechanical problems and they had to wait for days. Sometimes they could be left behind when it is full.” Migadde reveals.
Amir Kigundu Oweddembe, a resident at Kiyindi says that they are happy that the new ferry will ease transport.
MV Palm comes at a time when farmers at Buvuma and Buikwe have been crying foul over the failure to transport their goods and produce such bananas, coffee, maize, tomatoes, and beans to markets due to delays by the old ferry.
The old ferry had started developing rampant mechanical breakdowns forcing the management to reduce the number of routes from four to two.
Earlier today: MV Palm ferry has been commissioned. The ferry will replace MV Buvuma connecting the people in the areas of Buvuma to Kiyindi in Buikwe district. pic.twitter.com/adbOlpIHjs
— Government of Uganda (@GovUganda) May 27, 2023