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Relief! Ugandan farmers granted permits to export sugarcane to Kenya

Sugarcane being transported from Uganda to Kenya. (PHOTO/File)

JINJA – Sugarcane farmers in Busoga sub-region have breathed a sigh of relief after the government of Kenya granted them a temporary permit to export their produce across the border.

Currently, many sugarcane outgrowers have been making losses as the current number of millers in the country have been unable to take on all their cane.

But the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) on August 21 issued a six-month cane exportation permit to Musibi Farmers Limited that is based in Mayuge District.

Kenyan authorities require Ugandan cane exporters  to accompany their produce with an inspection certificate issued by the Ministry of Agriculture in Uganda.

Kenya also put stringent measures including being free from pests and diseases on arrival at the importing factory

“The consignment (is) to be inspected on arrival and the importing authority reserves the right to treat, destroy or refuse importation,” the permit instructions read in part.

Sugarcane farmers have welcomed the permit with open arms.

Michael Mugabira, the Coordinator Uganda Sugarcane Growers’ Association, said the Kenyan factory is willing to import up to 600 tons of cane daily for the six months granted on the permit.

“Our farmers are ready and are also excited for this opportunity. Once our government does its obligation, we will start right away” Mr Mugabira said in an interview.

Bugabula South Member of Parliament, Mr Henry Kibalya asked government to expedite the process of inspecting the cane and award certificates to the farmers so that they start exportation as soon as possible.

Some of the farmers had their cane rot on the Lorries after the millers refused to offload them because they were in excess to the capacities their machines.

Most of the millers in Uganda grow cane on their own and also give priority to contracted farmers before buying from any other source.

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