President Museveni has described the current glut in the agricultural produce market as a good problem.
Addressing the NRM delegates conference, the president called on fellow leaders and Ugandans to see the opportunity in the overproduction of produce like sugarcane and maize, rather than lamenting about it.
“The time is now to broaden all primary products obtainable from these crops, he said, and then move on to the secondary products,” he said.
“I couldn’t bring investors to make industrial starch before we had enough maize for kawunga!” Museveni said.
“Now that we have enough kawunga, we can start making starch for different industrial needs.”
He cited pharmaceuticals, saying Quality Chemicals would need the starch for making tablets.
On the outcry for lack of market for ebikadho (sugarcane) in Busoga and other area, the president explained that of the five hundred thousand tons of sugar used mainly for taking tea, the country only consumes three hundred and eighty thousand.
The surplus of one hundred and twenty thousand tons tablets can be used to make the 83,000 tonnes of industrial sugar that Uganda is currently importing just to make Coca Cola.
“The surplus would simply disappear,” the president mused.
He also mentioned other products for which sugar is needed, including industrial alcohol and sanitizers.
Sugar cane growing that had taken root in Busoga sub region leading to the opening of several sugar mills is increasingly being abandoned as millers refuse to but the out-growers’ cane, citing lack of demand for their sugar.
The low demand has been aggravated by dumping of sugar from low cost producers like Brazil.
Kenya Customs has impounded hundreds of tons of sugar packed in Uganda manufacturers’ bags as it docked into Mombasa, arriving from the high seas. No smuggler has been prosecuted so far.