Government of Uganda has lifted a ban on the export of raw sugarcane to Kenya for a period of three months effective next week.
Announcing the development on Monday evening, President Yoweri Museveni said it aims at allowing Ugandan farmers to sell the surplus sugarcane. “Mature sugarcane that doesn’t have ready buyers from local millers, should be exported,” he said. The decision was reached at during a meeting chaired by the President at State House, Entebbe. The meeting on Monday evening brought together sugar millers and farmers from Busoga Sub-Region.
Ugandan farmers, for the last few months, have grown too much sugarcane resulting in a surplus supply on the local market. The decision to lift the ban will see Uganda export raw sugarcane to allow Kenya-based factories that are willing, to buy sugarcane from Uganda. The meeting emphasized and agreed that only mature sugarcane should be exported adding that an Agricultural Officer should determine sugarcane maturity and its fitness for export.
The meeting also resolved that if a farmer had credit with a miller, the miller is obliged to buy all the mature sugarcane within the agreed contract period. If not, the miller should compensate the farmer for the loss. President Museveni directed that all bond warehouses should be banned with immediate effect in order to harmonize the price of sugar and root for the expansion and growth of the sugar industry.
The President also asked sugarcane millers and farmers to work together adding that the two players need each other in order to ensure the survival of the sugar industry. He, however, cautioned sugarcane farmers about the low returns from sugarcane production saying that the venture will not get them out of poverty mostly those who have small pieces of land. He, therefore, called on them to diversify their production ventures and concentrate more on crops like coffee, poultry, piggery and fish farming, among other enterprises that can yield good income for their homesteads.
Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Minister, Hon, Amelia Kyambadde, said her Ministry will allow Uganda sugarcane farmers to export excess sugarcane to Kenya for only 3 months. She revealed that her Ministry is doing all that is possible to secure licenses for farmers to sell their raw sugarcane to avert incurring losses. She strongly advised sugarcane farmers to form a consortium in transportation of their sugarcane to ensure realization of tangible benefits.
President Museveni and his counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, met on the sidelines of the 8th TICAD Conference in Japan last month and discussed issues related to the sugar business in their neighbouring countries. They agreed to fast track the process of enabling traders in Uganda and Kenya to access each other’s markets with ease.