Women around the oil refinery area in Hoima District have taken action to prepare for business opportunities presented by the oil industry developments.
The hope is generated from sensitisation engagements organised by government agencies and civil society organisations about local content.
However, fear remains on standards and lack of sufficient capital to invest comparatively in their reliable agriculture.
In an interview with Kazi-njema News, Ms Peace Muhumuza, a resident of Katooke village in Kabale sub-county said that women have already formed groups engaging in vegetable and fruit growing to increase agricultural production.
“We have Katooke Farmers Group, Horticulture Women Group and others. Some are not yet registered but we are mobilising them to register,” she said.
On the challenge of registration on the National Supplier Database (NSD), Ms Muhumuza credits the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) for the support to kick start the registration process from their localities through consultants.
She is optimistic that registration on the NSD will save them from exploitation by middlemen who supply agricultural produce to the Hoima International Airport constructors.
Ms Muhumza requests the government to consider offering free seedlings of the required quality to overcome the challenge of expensive quality seeds needed on the oil market.
“A kilogramme of tomato seed variety called ‘asla’goes for Shs800,000 which a local peasant cannot afford. They can give us free of charge to boost our efforts or low interest loans,” she appeals.
She confesses that she has already benefited from the oil industry through sale of her produce to the airport constructors through middlemen.
Katooke village where she lives is adjacent to Hoima International Airport on refinery land and also traversed by the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) route.
Ms Muhumuza’s story breaks a syndrome of lamentation that is ruining many people of confidence to prepare and benefit from the oil industry-induced business opportunities.
Our reporter observed her expressing optimism despite the existing challenges.
If duty bearers heightened community mobilisation, it would make a great attitudinal change on the industry.
While speaking on the sidelines of a community engagement in Hoima city recently, Mr Sam Mugisa, the Social Affairs Coordinator at the PAU, appreciated people that have taken individual initiatives to tap into the oil industry in their capacities.
He urged the communities to always visit the PAU offices in Hoima city for any inquiries on grievance.
This story is reported by Kazi-njema News in partnership with Hoima Caritas Development Organisation (HOCADEO).
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