Business News


Minister Wants Sugar Bill Fast-tracked


The State minister for Cooperatives Frederick Gume Ngobi has said the enactment of the Sugar Bill 2016 will solve the fluctuating sugar prices in the country.

The Sugar bill 2016 seeks to provide for the development, regulation and promotion of the sugar industry and to provide for the establishment of the Uganda Sugar Board among others.

As it stands, there is no comprehensive law regulating the sugar industry. In 2017 sugar prices around the country shot up to 9000 shillings from the usual 3000-4000 shillings. The Government attributed the soaring prices to drought.

While presenting a report before Parliament today, Gume said the sugar prices that were high had returned to 4000 shillings and that the Government is working with the sugar producers to ensure adequate supply of the commodity.

Gume however says fast-tracking the bill into law could help in stabilizing sugar prices. He says the Ministry was working together with Parliament to have the bill fast-tracked.

The bill which was introduced last year was read for the first time and is currently before the committee of Toursim, trade and Industry.

Jalia Bintu Lukumu, the Masindi District Woman MP, says sugar prices are not consistent even now in the country. She says the Government needs to do thorough research on sugar and look at issues of illegal sugar brought in the country.

She says a lot still remains to be done.

Kumi Municipality MP Cyrus Aogon says the people working in the sugar industry are being underpaid and the factories are making a lot of profit. He says the cost of power is also low and does not see a reason why the sugar prices should go so high.

Aogon states that the sugar bill should be fast-tracked but it should cater for the workers in the sugar industries.

The Sugar industry contributes 290 billion shillings annually to Uganda and employs over 60,000 people.


Women activist Ask Government to Banish Hand Hoe



Women activist groups in the country want an end to hand hoe-led agriculture saying it is one of the tools hindering the attainment of middle income status for Uganda.

Under their umbrella body Uganda Women's Network (UWONET), women say the hand-held hoe should no longer be a tool of production.

They told journalists at a press conference in Kampala, that rural women that make over 70 percent of the farmers in the country are bearing the brunt of the hand-held hoe. They say the women plant seeds by hand, weed by hand and harvest by hand.

Uganda Women's Network Executive Director, Rita Aciro Lakor said it is an embarrassment that hand hoe is still encouraged as a preferred tool in agriculture at a time when other countries are mechanizing agriculture.

Eunice Musiime, the Executive Director of Akina Mama wa Afrika says labour intensive agriculture is not yielding much to the farmers yet it comes with spinal cord injuries and premature ageing.

Musiime says mechanization of the agriculture would ensure more productivity and open up more land to agriculture. She says it is an acceptable for country like Uganda to have ten million of its people faced with hunger.

The women from various organizations were speaking at the launching of activities ahead of World Women's slated for this Wednesday. Their call comes at the time when government has allocated ten billion Shillings towards the purchase of hand hoes for distribution to farmers in the coming financial year.

The allocation however contradicts a commitment by President Museveni and other African Heads of States at the May 2015 Summit to end use of the hand hoe by 2025. The summit was held under the theme, "Women's Empowerment and Development towards Africa's Agenda 2063". The use of the handheld hoe is one of the problems highlighted in Agenda 2063.

Jeff Wadulo, speaking on behalf of Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) said funding to agriculture has over the years not been increasing at the time when some countries are getting concerned about the ageing profile of their farmers.

Wadulo said agriculture should be transformed so that it is attractive not only to women and young people. The solution according to Wadulo is looking at agriculture as a business and investing in modern technologies.

Apart from the hand hoes, the women activists want government to live up to the African Union commitment towards allocating 10 percent of the annual budgets to agriculture, and to target annual agriculture growth of 6 percent.



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