Minister makes U-turn on Namayingo sugar factory

The CN Sugar Factory Ltd in Namayingo District.  PHOTO/TAUSI NAKATO

What you need to know:

  • Busoga is home to seven major sugarcane processing plants.

The minister of Trade, Industry, and Co-operatives, Mr Francis Mwebesa, has now given the green light to CN sugar factory in Namayingo District to continue operations nearly a month after revoking its licence.

In his July 5 letter, the minister explained that his earlier communication was only stopping the erection of the sugar mill before establishing a nucleus estate.

“The purpose of this letter is …. to clarify that my communication was only stopping activities towards erecting a sugar mill; however, activities towards developing a sugarcane nucleus estate are allowed to continue,” the letter reads in part. 

“.. the letter was … to also encourage you to establish a nuclear estate to supply at least 50 percent of the sugarcane requirement of the sugar mill,” it adds.

Mr Mwebesa added that the revocation of the no-objection certificate was because a verification team that visited CN Sugar on May 13 established that the factory had planted only 300 acres (121 hectares ) of sugarcane, which 24 percent of the 500 hectares required for establishing a nucleus estate.

In the letter dated June 17, the minister had revoked the certificate of no-objection issued to CN Sugar to set up a sugar mill in Kifuyo Village, Buyinja Sub-county, over failure to establish a nucleus estate of at least 500 hectares before erecting the mill.

The minister’s U turn followed several petitions from different stakeholders, including the Namayingo District leadership, who argued that the closure of the factory would lead to unemployment and loss of revenue.

On June 25, more than 600 residents held a demonstration on the streets of Namayingo Town, condemning the closure of the factory.

The Namayingo Sugarcane Growers Association said last week that they were stuck with 3,000 acres of sugarcane after the closure of the factory.

The manager of CN Sugar Ltd, Mr Rashid Kakungulu, had also asked minister Mwebesa to compensate them having invested $15m in setting up a sugar factory.

The General Secretary of the Busoga Sugarcane Growers Association, Mr David Christopher Mombwe, said allowing CN sugar to resume work will benefit all farmers in Busoga Sub-region.

Busoga is home to seven major sugarcane processing plants: Kakira Sugar Limited (Jinja), Mayuge Sugar Factory (Mayuge), Kamuli Sugar Ltd (Kamuli), Kaliro Sugar Ltd (Kaliro), Bugiri Sugar Ltd (Bugiri) ), GM Sugar Factory (Buikwe) and CN Sugar Limited in Namayingo.