Friday May 23 2014

Mayuge farmers halt supply to sugar factory

Mayuge Sugar Factory trucks which were

Mayuge Sugar Factory trucks which were confiscated by the farmers as they delivered sugarcane to the factory recently. PHOTO BY Abubaker Kirunda 

By Abubaker Kirunda

Sugarcane farmers in Mayuge District have resolved to stop supply of sugarcane and sever ties with Mayuge Sugar Industries Limited to protest against alleged mistreatment by the management of the firm.

The farmers, who are clustered under the umbrella organisation, Bunya Sugarcane Company Limited, accuse the management of the firm of deviating from their earlier set out objective of fostering development in the area. The farmers claim that the firm is instead working towards making the community around the factory “poorer”.

During a meeting held in Mayuge Town on Saturday, the farmers accused the firm of making abrupt stoppages of supply of sugarcane, slapping unnecessary fines ranging between Shs20,000 and Shs200,000 and non-issuance of delivery notes.

The farmers also accused the management of making lump sum deductions for loans that they had earlier been offered to facilitate planting and harvesting contrary to an earlier agreed position that deductions would be made in three seasons.

Management also came under fire from farmers who accused it of witch-hunting and harassing their leaders who attempt to voice out the farmers’ concerns. The firm is also accused of failure to employ local residents.
“While our youth are suffering with unemployment, we too are suffering with the sale of our sugarcane. We, therefore, resolve to stop dealing with them,” the chairperson of the group, Mr Alimansi Buyinza, said.

However, the firm’s finance and administrative officer, Mr Peramit Jain, who talked to this newspaper on behalf of the Managing Director, Mr Kamlesh Makheswari, denied any wrongdoing, saying supply is only halted in cases when production is stopped due to unavoidable circumstances.