Busoga: Long-awaited palm oil hub commissioned

Agriculture
Busoga: Long-awaited palm oil hub commissioned
The launch of the palm oil hub

By Jaffari Muyinda

MAYUGE | The National Oil Palm Project has embarked on establishing another hub in Busoga sub-region upon registering a success in the islands of Kalangala and Buvuma.

The hub, which was commissioned in Buwaya Sub-county, Mayuge District, on Friday, is to target farmers with enough land in the districts of Mayuge, Namayingo and Bugiri.

Agronomists say the soils culture in the three districts have proven appropriate for the growing of the perennial crop according.

The move is stemmed from redirecting farmers to a new crop that will improve on household income of inhabitants who have dwelled in poverty for decades.

The commissioning of the new crop comes at the blink of farmers waiting for the implementation of the project for more than a decade, a situation that had stirred mixed reactions about its feasibility.

At least Shs3 billion has been sunk into the project to fund all the stages involved in the growing of the plant.

Under the project, farmers' contributions are only under the confines of providing land and becoming caretakers .

The National Oil Palm Project (NOPP) is footing all the expenses in the implementation.

This is an exposition for NOPP earmarking huge sums of money to the project.

Ms Lakonyero shows some of the palm oil seedlings

Susan Lakonyero, the NOPP manager , said their target is to cover 3,500 hectares in Mayuge, Bugiri and Namayingo to scale up the production of palm oil that is anticipated to cut the expenditures of $300 million spent on the importation of palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia.

Lakonyero regretted the delay in the implementation of the project, saying it would have started 13 years ago under then vegetable oil development project in Buvuma and Mayuge.

She blamed some of the delays to land acquisition challenges, saying they needed land that would act as a nucleus for the project.

Other factors such as fulfillment of the requirements by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) also played against the pace of implementation of the project, she added.

The project is to extend seedlings to farmers with the target of planting 3,500 hectares in Mayuge-Bugiri-Namayingo hub.

Farmers will meet the cost of ferrying the seedlings from one centre point in the district to their respective farmlands.

In regard to mitigating pricing challenges, Lakonyero reiterated that Buvuma, Sango Bay and Kalangala are a success story that reflect the pricing.

She added that Jinja-based edible oil giants Bidco are a private partner to buy all the harvests under the agreement signed in 2003 besides a committee installed to determine the pricing of the crop.

The pricing committee was set up by government with representatives from all spheres to guarantee fair prices.

For purposes of ensuring food security the project is going by the principle of enrolling only farmers with enough land.

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