Kakira Sugar Works is underfire from sugarcane farmers from Busoga Sub region for allegedly issuing supplier permits to politicians at their expense.
According to the farmers, the factory reduced their supplier permits from 1000 in January 2019 to 400 by December last year.
The farmers claim that their plantations were duly inspected by factory officials and are surprised that the supplier permits are issued to outsiders whose farms have never been inspected.
They contend that politicians don’t own cane plantations and only act as middlemen because they purchase sugarcane from farmers at Shillings 65,000 per ton and sell it at approximately Shillings 110,000 to the factory.
Abdullah Luwangula, a farmer from Luuka district says the influence of politicians has jeopardised the industry as farmers stuck with mature cane are exploited and forced to sell their cane cheaply to middlemen.
George Kaune, from Mayuge district says factory should develop a transparency mechanism by pining lists of permit beneficiaries on their notice boards.
He says a select committee of both farmers and the factory managers should jointly inspect plantations of the permit beneficiaries so as to break political monopoly in the trade.
Swaleh Muduubo, a farmer from Jinja district, says farmers are tasked to write letters explaining their daily challenges before are they issued with permits, which he claims is humiliating and time wasting.
Nuhu Ssajjabi, the coordinator of cane farmers in Busoga sub region notes that sidelining local farmers will create a crisis in the cane industry as disgruntled farmers will pull out of the industry.
Mayur Madhivani, the Managing Director Kakira sugar works says the factory has initiated a system, which allows only farmers with mature cane to acquire permits.
He however, says congestion of sugar factories in one area has attracted unregistered farmers to join the trade yet they are uncertain of market for their harvest.