By Allan Mwase
Recently, farmers petitioned the Speaker of Parliament seeking to be allowed to export the surplus sugarcane to the Kenya. As a farmer in Busoga who has sugarcane that is due for harvest, but has no local favourable market, I second the proposal as a short-term measure to protect the farmer.
I hope Parliament fast-tracks this matter. Allowing export to Kenya will expand the cane market in the true spirit of the East African Community common market. This will enable farmers to earn meaningfully from their hard work, hence increasing household incomes, especially in Busoga Sub-region. It will also show that Parliament stands with hard working Ugandans and will not sit and watch them lose income after 18 months of hard work.
Currently, many farmers in Busoga risk registering losses after they invested heavily in sugarcane growing. While the transport cost has been increased due to high demand for sugarcane, the cost is made higher by the delay at the factory before a truck is offloaded.
It takes about seven days before sugarcane is offloaded at the factory. On Monday, one of the factory owners in the region sent an SMS to farmers about a drop-in price from Shs128,000 per tonne to Shs120,000 per tonne.
Besides, the cost to farmers is compounded by the fact that the factory owner can adjust prices at their own pleasure. Therefore, it would be good to allow farmers to export surplus canes to Kenya.