Thursday April 24 2014

Farmers want contracts in oil firms

Leaders from Nwoya District tour the Total E&P restored site at Jobi East 2

Leaders from Nwoya District tour the Total E&P restored site at Jobi East 2 recently. Farmers accuse Total of ignoring them when awarding contracts for the supply of food. Photo by Julius Ocungi 

By Julius Ocungi

NWOYA- Farmers in Nwoya District have decried seclusion in procurement and supply of food products to giant oil firms in the region, six years since the discovery of oil in the Albertine Graben.

Contracts of supplying food products to Total E&P -- that is currently managing oil drilling activities in the Albertine Graben -- is being awarded to foreign firms ignoring the locals, Nwoya District officials say.

The farmers raised their concern during a meeting by Association of Uganda Oil and Gas Service Providers (AUOGSP) held in Nwoya, where more than 200 farmers under Nwoya District Farmers Association, attended.

Farmers from the sub-counties of Purongo, Anaka, Kochgoma and Alero that neighbour the rich oil wells, were among those trained on how to tap the available business opportunities in the oil-rich region.

Mr Denis Kamurasi, the vice chairperson of AUOGSP, said there was growing need to train farmers in the region to benefit from business in the oil sector.

“Giant oil companies operating within the region have been awarding contracts to foreign firms for the supply of food products, yet we have thousands of farmers within the region that can produce the similar items,” he said.

Mr Tom Ocitti Oryema, the Nwoya District vice chairperson, who is also the chairperson of the district farmers association, applauded AUOGSP for training farmers.

The Total E&P Uganda communications coordinator, Ms Anita Kayongo, however, said the company is willing to support communities where Total operates.

“The enhancement of
values chains (rice, cassava, vegetables, honey, simsim and dairy) could in the future enable farmers participate in our catering process, and also help them develop other business that will sustain them,” she said.