Museveni promises to pay evictees of Kiryandongo sugar factory land

President Museveni has promised to compensate residents who were evicted from the land housing  Kiryandongo sugar factory in Kimogora Village.

The President made the pledge while commissioning the $60 million (Shs216b) factory at the weekend.

The factory was constructed by Sarrai group on government ranch land, with works commencing in 2018.

Mr Museveni said the government allowed Sarrai group to establish the factory although some people had encroached on the land.

“These squatters had encroached on government ranch land and were not bonafide occupants but are our people. Bonafide occupants are those who had stayed on the land before 1983, but these came much later. The NRM government, however, we will compensate them,” he said.

In 2017, President Museveni donated the land to three companies, including Kiryandongo Sugar Factory, Ajilis Partners, a US company, and Great Season to pave way for large-scale farming.

Mr Museveni also advised residents to utilise the project by seeking employment.

“Stop living reckless lives by spending your money on alcohol,” the President said.

Mr Museveni advised locals to engage in agriculture so as to supply produce to investors undertaking projects in the area.

He also promised farmers that Cabinet will soon debate initiatives of extending irrigation schemes to them since the weather patterns are not dependable.

“Even this season, the rain has delayed. The maize is still young. I don’t know if we shall have better yields, that is why I will have to take the issue to the Cabinet and we will talk about it,” he said.

Mr Sarbjit Singh Rai, the chairperson of Sarrai group, said they have so far planted 13,000 acres of sugarcane, adding that the factory has a production capacity of 4,000 tonnes per day.

“The factory has registered a total of 150 sugarcane out growers and we are now employing 5,000 people but we hope to increase the number to 8,000 in the coming years,” he said.

Mr Rai said the factory will also help farmers get better yields by supplying them with pesticides.

Meanwhile, leaders in Bundibugyo have reminded the President to consider fulfilling pledges he made to the district. The Bughendera County MP, Mr Moses Acrobat Kiiza, told Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja during her visit to the district at the weekend that in 2015, Mr Museveni pledged to create Bughendera district and establish a cocoa factory.

“Prime Minister, we kindly ask you to remind the President about the creation of Bughendera, a cocoa factory and also compensate the flood victims in the district,” Mr Acrobat said.

He said the district has already secured land where they propose to construct the factory.

In her response, Ms Nabbanja said: “The  NRM government does not forget its people, so be patient, we are coming to fulfil everything.” She was in the district for the fundraising of the construction of a community service centre.

The farmers also complained of poor market prices due to lack of a factory to process it.

According to the district production officer, Mr Light Kisembo, they produces 24 metric tonnes of cocoa annually.

In 2016, Mr Museveni directed then the Minister for Trade to work with the ministry of Finance to budget for the construction of the factory.

This article originally appeared in The Daily Monitor