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Sugarcane transporters, out growers protest unfair trade practices

Trucks loaded with sugarcane parked in protest. URN photo

Buikwe, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Over 200 sugarcane out-growers and transporters are accusing the Sugar Corporation of Uganda Limited Lugazi-SCOUL, in Buikwe district of unfair trade practices. The transporters buy sugarcane from farmers and Mehta for sale to the factory.

However, they claim that Indians who are supposed to buy the sugarcane from them have also started buying it directly from farmers using proxies to kick them out of business. Led by their chairperson William Kakembo, the sugarcane out-growers and transporters say that they have tried talking to the factory management in vain.

According to Kakembo, they are now working below average yet they invest a lot in transporting the sugarcanes. He wants the government to set a price ceiling for sugarcane so that they can recover their money.

Davis Agaba, another transporter narrates that lately due to the decision of SCOUL to engage in the transport business, they are failing to break even.

According to the transporters, they get permits to transport and sell cane to SCOUL. Agaba also notes that the factory takes long to give them permits compared to their competitors, which leads to the harvest of overgrown sugarcane, which lose weight and makes them suffer losses.

Alice Nakato, a sugarcane farmer says that the transporters who work on behalf of some Indians from SCOUL always want to buy the sugarcanes at a lower price compared to what the transporters pay. John Nkuubi, another farmer says that they spend a lot of their productive time waiting for their turn, which affects their livelihood.

Stephen Sserubula, the Lugazi Municipality Member of Parliament notes that all that these people want is to be heard and their issues worked on. He says that he wants to see the farmers, transporters, and factories equally benefiting from one another.

Bachu Suarez, the in-charge of SCOUL Sugarcane Out Growers declined to comment on the matter when contacted by our reporter.



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