Food & Health

The sugar cane farmers in Busoga Sub Region have asked parliament to streamline sugar cane growing between farmers and millers.

This follows when a section of sugarcane farmers in Busoga in the areas of Jinja Rural, Kaliro, Kamuli, Mayuge and others to have a joint meeting with their area members of parliament at SkyHotel, Naguru in Kampala and this meeting was organized by, Pastor David Livingston Zijan, the dean of independent members of parliament in the 11thParliament, Network for Public interest lawyers and sponsored by ActionAid-Uganda.

In a series of meetings that have been taking place, sugar cane farmers have complained that if they want to grow sugarcanes, they enter in agreements with the millers but the millers issuing them with permits, it is a tag of war.

They also said that since they get sugar cane seedlings from the millers, these millers put big interests of 23% which complicates the business and they end up making losses.

They also stated that sugarcane growing has contributed to high rates of early child pregnancies and school dropouts and also absence of food in homes because little girls have been defiled in sugarcane plantations

The Member of Parliament of Butembe County in Jinja District who is also the Dean of Independent MPs in Parliament Pastor David Livingston Zijan said that the sugar cane growing is associated with numerous problems but as if the government forgot to stand with the farmers because even the Sugar Act of 2020 is not operational. This act requires farmers to set up a sugar board as a regulator to oversee,
monitor and arbitrate disputes in the sugar cane sector but the act is inactive.

MP Zijan asked the government that when it puts up the acts/bills, let those bills be in operation to help and guide the substance.

He also revealed that during the discussion with farmers, they noticed that sugar cane growing is associated with violation of human rights because there is child labour, female/women are denied women’s property rights where men/husband tend to have full control and gives away all the land for sugarcane growing yet women are the ones to bear consequences with children when there is no food in homes.

The woman member of parliament Kaliro district Brenda Namukuta said that sugar cane growing in good but needs to be guided and helped because according to farmers especially women, they are tossed out by husbands which is brings family disputes but as leaders, they are going to raise the issues as matters of national importance in parliament.

She commended the MP Butembe County in Jinja District Pastor David Livingstine Zijan for arranging the meeting because a lot has been discovered and they need solutions.

The MP for Kagoma North in Jinja District Brandon Alex Musayi Muto said that if the sugar cane sector is to benefit farmers, they should respect human rights because the government millers and famers will not enjoy when human rights are violated.

The MP of Buzaaya County inKamuli district Martin Muzaale Kisule said that some problems associated with sugar cane growing like child labour, women’s property rights and others can be solved by local governments by setting up by-laws that prevent them but as parliament they are focused to Sugar Act of2020

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