Masindi farmers, Kinyara Sugar Ltd disagree on sugarcane price

Sugarcane growers in Masindi District have disagreed with Kinyara Sugar Limited on the price of sugarcane per tonne.

During a meeting he chaired last evening (Saturday), the Kinyara Sugar Ltd agriculture manager, Mr Mashvanan, announced that the company was willing to pay farmers Shs91,586 per tonne of sugarcane for the current 2020/2021 financial year.

In the meeting that sat at Kinyara Training Centre, Mr Mashvanan claimed that the company was stuck with thousands of unsold tonnes of sugar due to its inability to export it to the neighbouring countries that closed their borders with Uganda due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

The agriculture manager also argued that the current market of sugar is low adding that the price of a 50- kilogramme bag of sugar has fallen from Shs150,000 to Shs131,000.

However, the Masindi Sugarcane Growers Association Limited (MASGAL) board chairman, Mr Cosmas Byaruhanga, disagreed with the company and instead pushed for a higher price.

He wondered how the company determined the price without consulting the farmers as its suppliers and also the formula that the sugar company used to arrive at the price.

“Kinyara gave us the figures that we had for long been asking them to give us to arrive at the price of Shs91,586 that they imposed on us. We use three dimensions including the average price, renderment and percentage sharing. They have given us Shs2.17292m as the average price of sugar, 8.4% as renderment and 50% as percentage sharing. When you sum up all these, you get their price,” said Mr Byaruhanga.

“However, we have rejected this price for two reasons: In our agreement, renderment must not be less than 9%. By saying it is at 8.44% yet we know that sugarcane is ready for harvesting; it means they are deceiving us. We have to begin from 50% of the percentage sharing bargaining basing on the new Act President Yoweri Museveni assented to. We realised that all these were deceitful and disagreeable,” he added.

Audio: Byaruhanga on disagreement (Runyoro/Rutooro)

Following the stalemate, Mr Byaruhanga, who is also the Masindi District LC 5 chairman, has invited the Masindi Sugarcane Farmers’ Council to convene a meeting on Tuesday next week at Kinyara Secondary School to resolve on the matter.

“We decided to call a farmers’ council that decides for farmers after receiving permission from the RDC. So, we shall convene at Kinyara secondary school on Tuesday so that we discuss the next step. But we have told them (management of Kinyara Sugar Ltd) to allow people to tally but indicating on the form that this is a provisional price against what they have been tallying saying that it is an interim price as if we had agreed on it earlier”.

Audio: Byaruhanga on farmers’ council (Runyoro/Rutooro)

This comes days after MASGAL signed an agreement with Atiak Sugar Factory in Amuru district allowing the factory to buy excess sugarcane in Masindi district.

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