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MINISTER INTERVENES IN ATAIK SUGAR BURNING

By Christopher Nyeko

AMURU: Minister for Northern Uganda Ms Grace Kweyocwiny set to intervene in the constant fire outbreak in Atiak sugar plantation which has annually been destroying a thousand of acres of the plantation.

Kweyocwiny declared her intervention plan last week when she was commissioning the bridge constructed by the ministry of work and transports a tune of 1.9 Billion purposely to link the other plantation in Ayuu Alali Lamwo district to the processing factory established in Atiak sub county Amuru district.

She responded to the constant lamentation from the community about rampant burning of the sugar plantations by some of the aggrieve members of the community who claimed that they have worked for over 3 years but have benefited nothing.

Kweyocwing however plans to meet the cultural leaders in Atiak so the problems are addressing permanent through sensitization and community policing.

The government has invested a billion of shillings in this project for social economic transformation of the people.

Denis Otema the village chairman of pachilo blames the board of governor in Ataik sugar project for failing to communicate to the out growers who have worked but have not benefited.

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Otema also advised the board to address the gap in communication so that people hope is achieved citing that the factories work has changed the life of the youth in his village.

Mao Norbert the chairperson of the Gem pachilo cooperative society limited told our reporter that they are going to have general meeting in the coming may so that the aggressiveness he confirmed is causing the burning of the plantation is scrutinized.

Joyce Laker the chairperson of Atiak out growers cooperatives society with over 200 members of the out growers lamented to the minister to hurry the process of the intervention otherwise the women will undress them self to display their problem so that government can intervene quickly.

“Our members constituting of returnee, single mothers, youth who have worked restlessly in the production but have not benefited.”

She revealed that Last year in December we were optimistic that we will benefits but when we were set to start cutting the cane in the shortest time, but we were shock seeing the fire gutting our ready cane. It has frustrated has really.

Oruu Martin one of the members of the out growers told urn that they out growers have wasted their time; they are suspicious that their money might have been eaten by the top people in the cooperative because they are not communication.

He added that he has no money for paying for the school fees of his children.
Last year in December the police in Amuru investigated the fire incident at Atiak sugar plantation that was reportedly destroyed more than 200 hectares.

The Aswa River Region Police Public Relations Officer, David Ongom Mudong in a press conference on Monday afternoon said, the fire started in the farm on 10th December, 2021 and took three days.

David Ongom Mudong the Aswa River Region police spokesperson last year revealed that 200 hectares of the plantation has so far been destroyed, 14 grass thatched houses belonging to the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF 71) battalion which are providing the security in the place equally got burnt in fire incident happened 10th December 2021 which destroys the plantation for over three days.

Due to the contour of the plantations which is hilly, the police fire brigade failed to put down the fire citing that the trucks would not pass through the hilly terrain.

He wondered why the management failed to implement the guideline the police issues to the management of the place in regards to the persistent fire outbreak such as installation CCTV camera and recruiting the vigilantes he said.

Due to rampant fire outbreak, the factory has equally lost 60% of its plantation in December last year which contributed to the loss of Shs.3 billion in the year according to the 2020 police Annual Crime Report.

Ataik sugar project is the multibillion presidential project established in 2018 aiming at turning the war battle ground in to green field of production under the public private, community partnership and government has acquired funding from Uganda corporation development bank.

The factory is located 11 kms North of Atiak, off the Gulu-Nimule road in Gem village, Pachilo parish, Atiak sub-county in Amuru district.

The factory has the capacity to crush 1,650 tons of raw sugarcane daily, producing 66,000 tons of sugar annually.

 

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