Sugar cane out growers Wednesday morning stormed parliament to seek audience with the speaker Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga over delays in opening Atiak Sugar Factory that they had been promised will be ready by the year 2018.
The 200 person strong delegation was received by Kilak Member of Parliament Anthony Akol.
The outgrowers accuse Finance Minister Matia Kasaija of luring them to grow sugarcane on a large scale since government had finalized plans to establish Atiak Sugar Factory which would be ready by 2018.
The outgrowers informed Akol that over 40,000 turned to sugarcane growing in anticipation of earning from its sale to the factory. They now find themselves with no money or food for their families as the factory is not yet operational.
Akol claims to have seen documents that show Bank of Uganda directed the Finance minister Kasaija to release funds to Dr Amina Hersi Moghe’s Horyal Investments Holdings Company Limited which is responsible for the sugarcane factory.
Akol says the money was never availed despite the BOU order. The Kilak MP says he will follow up to find out why the BOU order was ignored.
With over 4000 acres planted with sugarcane, the outgrowers are concerned they might not have a market for their produce. The outgrowers meanwhile had shifted from growing food crops to sugarcane which means they do not have food for their dependents.
However, this week President Yoweri Museveni warned that only famers with six acres of land and more should be engaged in sugarcane growing. In President Museveni’s proposed sugar policy, sugarcane growing should be left to large scale growers and not those who do it on a small scale.