President Museveni has promised to bail out the sugarcane farmers in Busoga sub-region.
The NRM presidential candidate who was speaking to party leaders and flag bearers from the Jinja, Luuka, Mayuge and Jinja city at Dam waters Rugby grounds on Friday was told that the issue of bailout needs urgency since many sugarcane farmers had been affected.
In a memorandum read by the Bunya County West, Mayuge District, Henry Aggrey Bagiire, the NRM leaders in Busoga- sub-region told the President they are stuck with sugarcanes since most factories don’t want to buy from them or want to buy it at lower because of lack of market for sugar which is in plenty.
“There is need for an emergency package or bailout to sugarcane producers stuck with sugarcane not bought by producers,” Bagiire told the President on behalf of other leaders.
Speaking in response, Museveni agreed to the bailout but didn’t give the specific time it would come.
“The sugarcane people need to be bailed out for sure. We shall see how to handle it,” Museveni said.
The President however noted that Ugandan produces 540,000 tonnes of sugar every year, whereas only 380,000 tonnes of this is consumed locally, noting that the extra 160 tonnes needs to be exported to neighbouring countries but noted that the cost of production for Uganda’s sugar is still high, compared to other countries.
“In Kenya and Tanzania they need some sugar because they have a deficit. I spoke to President Kenyatta(Uhuru) and told me they buy sugar from Swaziland which is cheaper than ours because of production costs,”Museveni said.
The President explained that it would cost $585(shs2.1million)to have a metric tonne of Ugandan sugar reach Kisumu yet it is a little cheaper at $560(shs2million) to have the same quantity of sugar from Swaziland including transport cost.
He noted that the problem will soon be dealt with through the East African integration where the market for Ugandan goods will have widened to include all the other East African countries.
Museveni however insisted that the issue of producing goods like sugar in surplus is not a bid a problem but rather a blessing in disguise.
“Because of that inflow of direct foreign investments we have been able to solve the problem of shortages. It was a big problem but now we have a surplus of these goods and we are struggling with it but it is not a big problem. When you have property, you get problems. Like me a cattle keeper, I get problems but I am happier dealing with problems of my cows than having no cow at all,” he noted, emphasizing the role to be played by the East African integration in providing a solution to the problem of market for Ugandan products.