Tobacco farmers in Kikuube District are objecting to government mode of payment for the tobacco they grew for various companies that failed to pay them for more than three years now.
Through the Ministry of Trade and Industry, government resolved to pay Shs12b to tobacco farmers in Bunyoro region who were not paid their money by Continental Tobacco and NIMATIBACK companies in 2018.
To express their dissatisfaction, more than 100 tobacco farmers in Kikuube district stormed the office of the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) saying government’s decision to pay them using national identity cards through banks and mobile money transfers will leave many farmers unpaid.
Represented by Mr Moses Kabagambe, the farmers argue that the variance of farmers’ names on farmers’ books that tobacco companies issued them and on national identity cards will create suspicion of identity during the payment process.
He said by virtue of name differences, 85 per cent of the aggrieved farmers will go without pay, thus, preferring payment based on receipts that tobacco companies issued to them.
Presenting their grievances before the Kikuube RDC, Mr Amlan Tumusiime, Mr Kabagambe said as well as failing payment to some farmers, the process may further delay payment yet they are highly indebted and their properties are being attached by banks and money lenders.
The farmer representative also urged farmers who dragged government to court over non-payment to withdraw the case so that the payment process can be sped up.
In his response, Mr Tumusiime pledged to forward the matter to the relevant authorities so that government uses a mode of payment convenient to the farmers.