Palm Oil fruit farmers have resorted to harvesting immature fruits because of improved prices. The price of the Fresh Fruit Bunch-FFB increased to Shillings 700 from Shillings 400 in December last year. The price has increased further to Shillings 831 a kilogram.
David Balironda, the Manager Kalangala Oil Palm Tree Out Growers Trust (KOPGT), says the increased prices have pushed farmers to harvest immature fruits. He, however, says this has led to the low-quality extraction rate in the mills, which has the potential of lowering the price of palm oil fruits.
He says some of the farmers are now facing different penalties including criminal charges at Kalangala Police Station for the unprofessional practice.
Josephine Namulindwa, a palm oil tree farmer says plantation owners do not intend to harvest immature fruits. She says their employees tend to harvest immature fruits because they are paid per kilogram they harvest.
Robert Jjuko, another farmer says that they are worried that price has increased theft on their blocks.
Suleiman Ssenyonjo, a farmer from Bubembe Island says, farmers yearn for a huge harvest without noticing that the market of palm oil is being destroyed by immature harvests.
KOPGT regulates palm oil tree out-growers and has over 2000 farmers in Kalangala District. Palm Oil business is the second mainstay activity for the islanders after fishing.