David Bahati, Minister of state for trade, industry and cooperatives assured farmers of stable prices in the newly tabled sugar amendment act.
Bahati during his address to Journalists in Jinja city says the existing sugar act had depicted sugarcane prices to be dependent on sugar prices in the market however, different surveys revealed how such assessments would expose farmers to unfair pricing during bumper harvests.
Bahati continued to say that this sugar bill which was tabled for second reading on Thursday has a well designed formula, which will be applicable for both millers and government alike to set agreeable minimum prices for sugarcane irrespective of the prevailing laws of demand and supply at given periods.
Further, says sugarcane prices shall be considered in consideration of the different factors of production, which will enable farmers to earn reasonable profits, irrespective of other looming forces within the market. He says that, such factors are key in relieving farmers from the burden of opportunistic middlemen, who throng the market with an aim of using their money to cheaply purchase sugarcane plantations during bumper harvest seasons, then expensively sell the same to millers as and when prices stablise.
Bahati also made it clear that they will establish a government led sugar council, comprising of equal representatives from both the millers and farmers’ alike, with equal votes on the decision making within the sugar industry.
He made it clear that, all these measures are oversights left out in the prevailing sugar act, which had to be captured in a bid to not only stablize sugarcane prices, but also contribute to the thriving of the industry a fat revenue generation avenue for generations to come.
Bahati has further reiterated government’s commitment to maintain the farmers’ stand on zoning. He notes that, the no zoning close was implemented in the prevailing sugar Act and it is not practical for them to bring up the same issues in the new amendments.
Meanwhile, Stephen Mudungu, the chairperson of sugarcane farmers in Mayuge district has accused government for being non-committal towards regulating the sugar industry.
Mudungu says that, sugarcane should be regulated in the ministry of agriculture as a means of addressing farmers’ needs, rather than the trade ministry, which largely prioritizes investors over other stakeholders.