Atiak farmers petition Parliament

Hon. Anthony Akol MP Kiraka NorthOver 300 aggrieved farmers from Northern Uganda have petitioned the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga over their perceived government’s intention to keep them in poverty by the delayed completion of the construction of the Atiak Sugar Factory (ASF).
ASF was founded in 2016 to alleviate poverty in Northern Uganda on a house hold basis. It was intended that the company would employ over 1,500 people, while another 5,000 would benefit from selling the raw material to the sugar factory. The Government advanced a loan of US$7 million to Horyal Investments Holding Company Limited to complete the construction, procure the sugar-manufacturing machinery and start sugar production.(when????)
Hon. Anthony Akol (FDC, Kilak North) who represented the farmers from Amuru, Gulu, Adjumani and Lamwo districts said that by failing to provide the funds as promised, the government had not honoured it’s part of the bargain.
 “Government promised to fund the farmers through two government agencies; National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) and the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF). NAADS funded shs23 billion for opening and clearing of 13,841 acres for sugar cane farms,” he said. “14,000 acres were cleared and 3900 acres have sugarcane plantations which are nine months old. 4,000 households were to benefit from selling the raw material but this cannot happen”.
Akol added that unlike other crops, the farmers are stuck with the sugarcane with no factory to sell to. He also stated that they cannot access other factories because of distance limitations.
“Why did the government encourage us to adopt this new crop and yet they cannot construct any factories?” he asked.

The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga said that the petition was timely and promised to support the farmers.
“It is your right to present your complaints to Parliament. I am surprised that the money has not yet been mobilised for the completion of  the factory. I will take action and consult with the Minister of Finance and the Governor Bank of Uganda,” she said, adding that “I will forward the petition to the relevant committee so that you are called for a public hearing”.