By Innocent Atuganyira
Sugarcane farmers in Masindi district registered with Kinyara Sugar Limited are crippling with accumulated loans due to the delayed cane harvesting.
This was revealed on Friday during an emergency annual general meeting in Kabango town council Masindi district.
The same meeting was also attended by the general manager, and agriculture manager Kinyara Sugar Limited, Member of Parliament for Bujenje constituency and others.
Eriab Byenkya a resident of Kyakabazinde Southern ward in Kabango town council explained that he got a loan from Centenary Bank to acquire another field of sugarcane.
Byenkya who was hoping to recover the loan after harvesting the sugarcane noted that he approached the management of Kinyara Sugar Factory over his canes harvest but wasn’t helped.
The aggrieved cane farmer revealed the Shs5M loan acquired from Centenary has accumulated to Shs15M, and the bank is going to selloff his house and land which will leave him homeless and helpless.
Topista Nagozibwa, sugarcane farmer in Kyarutanga said her sugarcane has spent three years in the field, she has approached the management of Kinyara Sugar Ltd several times to ensure her cane is harvested but in vain.
She however said recently cane cutters went to her cane field but they refused to harvest the canes citing that they are aged cane, and many thus abandoning them.
The aggrieved farmer said she is losing her properties to money lenders due to delayed cane harvesting, she is asking for government intervention since they are counting losses due to the vice.
David Kugonza who is also sugarcane farmer blamed the out grower, and agric manager for Kinyara Sugar Ltd since they don’t follow-up on why aged canes are not harvested.
Kanaginagi Ateenyi Rutindo also a farmer said that recently he got a call from Kiryandongo Sugar asking for sugarcanes since they don’t have enough to feed their miller, the farmer is wondering why Kinyara Sugar Ltd is not letting the excess canes to be taken to Kiryandongo Sugar Miller to reduce the aged cane in the district.
Richard Atugonza insisted that they should have their own miller, since they have issues as why they want it. He notes the only way to have justice for their products is through owning their own miller.
Hon. Kenneth Kiiza Nyendwoha the Member of Parliament for Bujenje Constituency tasked Kinyara Sugar Ltd to produce the agreement over cane age saying that it should be reduced.
The politician said farmers are complaining over Kinyara harvesting their own canes abandoning the farmers’.
Nyendwoha asked Kinyara Sugar Ltd to consider the issue of burnt and aged canes since farmers are incurring losses, noting they will end up losing lives of people due to delayed cane harvesting and fire.
Responding to the above issues, Masilamani Mathiuanan the Agric Manager Kinyara Sugar Ltd said that they were harvesting canes at 14 months in October 2019, fire affected them, and in 2020, the outbreak of corona virus which paralyzed the movement of workers hit them hard since some workers were camped in designated areas, vehicles wouldn’t move beyond 6pm thus affecting transportation of canes to the factory.
He added that following the heavy downpour last year, most of the sugarcane fields were flooded affecting the harvesting, and transportation of canes to the factory thus age canes.
Mathiuanan told farmers that this also led to reduction of sugar production noting that they would produce 1,000 tons of sugar per day which is half of sugar they used to produce daily.
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