Jinja, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Zoning for sugar mills has outlived its importance to the economy due to the surplus cane, according to President, Yoweri Museveni. He said this while addressing cane farmers at Bugembe stadium in Jinja district on Wednesday.
Under the old sugar policy, no sugar factory would be allowed to set up with a radius of 25 kilometer from another. This was meant to reduce competition for cane and allow the steady supply to the sugar mills.
Museveni noted that although sugar mills within Busoga region are suffering raw material scarcity due to the increased number of mills, there is an increase in the number of cane farmers who lack where to sell their harvest.
Busoga has four major sugar factories in Jinja, Kamuli, Mayuge and Kaliro districts with an estimated 44,000 registered cane out growers. According to Museveni, farmers are in dire need of market for their yield but factories lack sufficient capacity to absorb the cane.
“This debate of zoning was very important then when mills lacked enough cane but since we are operating in surplus with mills lacking room for out growers’ produce, then zoning is no longer applicable,” he said.
Adding that, “We cannot vie for zoning at a time like this when more small scale sugar processing plants are needed to relieve farmers of their bumper harvest.”
Museveni tasked sugar cane farmers to draft a detailed development plan that will be implemented by Uganda Development Cooperation-UDC to construct a sugar mill for the farmers.
He says government will construct the plant and on completion, the project shall become a public private partnership between the state and the farmers.
Issa Budhugo, the Chairperson Busoga Sugarcane Out grower’s Union says mills can no longer consume 50% of the out growers’ produce, which is costing farmers.
“Farmers invest almost one million Shillings in every acre of sugarcane but if there is no market for the cane then farmers will derail in loses,” he said.