Compensation of sugarcane out growers has delayed the planned production at Amuru Sugar plant.
The factory was supposed to start producing sugar beginning July after installation of the machines at the factory was completed at the end of June. More than 100kms of roads around the sugar plantation and a bridge on Unyama River have also been built to ease movement of produce and workers.
However, over 4,000 farmers under Gem Pachilo and Atiak out -growers cooperative societies, who provided sugarcane cuttings to the factory in 2016 are yet to be paid by government.
The sugar industry is a subsidiary company of Horyal Investment Holdings Company Limited and co-owned by the government of Uganda.
Ms Joyce Laker, the chairperson of Atiak Outgrowers Cooperative Society, said they were disappointed that Naads had refused to pay their members.
But Dr Samuel Mugasi, the NAADS executive director says the verification of out growers delayed after the respective cooperative societies never submitted the list of their members in time.
Dr Mugasi says that with the factory set to begin crushing of sugarcane in August, NAADS secretariat has resolved to conduct quarterly meetings with the farmers to address some of the matters affecting the project.
Mr Dan Kidega, the board chairperson for Atiak Sugar Works, said they are struggling to resolve the compensation issue.
“We are continuing to engage Naads to make sure that this payment is effected soon and that such delays don’t reoccur in future. When one of the parties in the business is not comfortable, we as a board also become uncomfortable,” he said last week.
Dr Kidega revealed that they are finalising negotiations with the cooperatives so that sugar production starts at the beginning of next month.