Ntenjeru North County Member of Parliament, Amos Lugolobi has asked the government to enact strong laws to regulate the growing of Sugarcane in the country in order to protect the nationals from food insecurity.
Lugolobi wants legislators to introduce clauses that prohibit farmers with small pieces of land from grow the cash crop.
He explained that most people have now resorted to sugarcane growing ignoring the need to grow food crops.
He noted that without strong regulation in place, sugarcane farming will expose the country into food insecurity as its being experienced in some parts of the country, especially in Busoga sub region.
“Some people in my District (Kayunga and Busoga sub regions are paying less attention in farming food crops, all the lands in their possession is extremely being used to grow sugarcane. This is a security threat to the local people. Am not against sugarcane farming but farmers should practice it wisely to ensure that more land is preserved for food crop growing,” he explained.
He noted that some local people in the sugarcane growing catchment areas have resorted to leasing out lands to investors and out growers for sugarcane production leaving them with no land for food crop production.
“The farmers are leasing land at cheaper prices because they don’t have the bargaining skills with the investors.”
Sugarcane growing is becoming one of the most lucrative agro–business being embraced by many farmers across the country, especially where sugar milling plants have been established due to the influx of investors in the sugar industry.
Currently Busoga has more than four sugar milling plants namely: Kakira Sugar Works, Kamuli Sugar, Kaliro Sugar and Mayuge sugar mills among others.
The establishment of such plants created competition for sugarcane farmers, thus enticing many local people to engage in the production.
Other part of the country where the crop has been embraced is the Bunyoro region. The locals in this area are also engaging in massive sugarcane growing which is highly demanded by the Kinyara Sugar Works and also the new Hoima Sugar factory.
According to Lugolobi, Sugarcane growing in Uganda is not only causing food insecurity but also depleting the country’s natural resources such as wetlands and forest.