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Compensate us! Sugarcane growers drag gov’t to court over exportation ban 

The petitioners L-R: Francis Muganga, Kakaire Ramadhan, and Ali Kataba filing the petition at the Constitution Court registry (PHOTO/Rachel Agaba).

KAMPALA – Sugar cane growers have on Friday, August 30, petitioned the Constitutional court seeking to set aside and declare as unconstitutional a decision that was made by the government to ban the exportation of sugarcane outside Uganda.

The three sugarcane growers; Francis Muganga, Ramadhan Kakaire and Ali Katabu in their suit filed today claim they are concerned with the economic and social  well- being of their fellow Basoga whose only source of livelihood has been derived in terms of feeding or purchase of food for consumption, educating their children, attaining an improved medication among others.

The trio contends that most of the sugar cane growers incur enormous expenses ranging from renting land, hiring labour to weed and harvest the sugarcanes, buying pesticides and fertilizers to hiring trucks which carry the harvested sugarcanes to processing companies.

That, however, for a long time, production of sugarcanes in the region has gone high and the processing companies in the country can no longer consume all the supply, hence incurring losses as the sugar cane dries up and losses value while still loaded on the hired trucks.

That this surplus supply led to a reduction in prices of sugarcanes to the extent of process g factories paying 100, 000 shillings for a full Lorry of sugarcanes.

The group says it’s for this reason and in search of a better livelihood that the farmers opted and started to export their sugarcanes to the neighboring Kenya and Tanzania.

The three men in their petition, however, contend that government security agencies started to arbitrary arresting farmers from Boarder points while prohibiting them from exporting their own sugar canes; until the president and Trade Minister Amelia Kyambaade made it official and imposed a ban on sugar cane exportation.

Now Muganga, Kakaire and Kataabu feel aggrieved with the said directive because the ban imposed by the government violates the economic rights of people from Busoga region as they can no longer earn from their sweat.

They are now asking the Constitutional court to look into this plight and consinder the lives and well-being of sugar cane growers and declare the ban as unlawful.

The trio has listed the Attorney General, who is the chief legal adviser to government as a respondent to a petition they have drawn and filed by themselves.

Last month the Trade minister, Ms Amelia Kyambadde said that the government cannot allow sugarcane farmers in Busoga to export cane to neighboring countries saying that it is against the exportation policy that limits selling of raw materials of locally manufactured goods to foreigners.

The minister was responding to Bugabula South MP Henry Kibalya, who said farmers in Busoga are stuck with thousands of tonnes of cane because millers failing to buy it. Mr Kibalya had urged the government to allow farmers to export cane to Kenya, which was willing to import at least 600 tonnes per day from Uganda.

The court is yet to summon the AG for a response.

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