The establishment of a Shs47b cassava-sorghum industrial project in Kibuku district has been blocked for lack of funds, the Daily Monitor has learned.
Farmers, who were to benefit from the multibillion-dollar project, which was supposed to add value to cassava and sorghum, may have to wait longer after the government fails to release the funds.
The project, which was due to start early last year, is funded by the Uganda Development Corporation (UDC) and implemented by Fresh Horizons Ltd to promote food security through sustainable cassava production.
Mr. Charles Kadyama, chairman of Kibuku district, said on Monday that they had donated approximately 2,417 hectares of land to the project because they planned it would promote mass commercialization and industrialization of the land. cassava cultivation.
“As a district, we had planned that the project would be underway at this point, but unfortunately there is nothing on the ground,” he said.
Mr. Kadyama said that when they tried to consult with officials, they were told that the government had not yet released the funds to the implementing partner.
He said farmers have been mobilized to adopt large-scale cassava cultivation to alleviate poverty.
“We discovered that cassava is a miraculous crop. There are countries in the world like China, India, Brazil and Malaysia that have turned around thanks to the cultivation of cassava, ”he said.
Mr. Kadyama said that cassava contains more than 20 components that can be used for making paints, medicines, ethanol and spirits.
“Cassava is an essential ingredient for pharmaceutical companies because currently most pharmaceuticals are imported,” he said.
Contacted about this, SVP executive director Dr Patrick Birungi told the Daily Monitor that he could not discuss the project over the phone.
District production manager Michael Mbayo said the project, if implemented, has the potential to increase household incomes and create jobs.
“It would promote job creation. This would also consolidate and increase the stock and quality of production infrastructure, ”he said.
During an on-site visit with district leaders last year, Agriculture Minister Vincent Ssempijja said the government had allocated Shs100b through the SVP to the agriculture and agro-industry.
Cassava production statistics by locality indicate that the western region produces 15.2 percent, the north (34 percent), east (36.7 percent) and center produce 14.2 percent. Nankodo Sub-County President-elect Mr. Sadik Wabwire said it was unfortunate that the government had frustrated residents. “The community has been eagerly awaiting the project because it will be the only way people can get out of poverty,” he said.
The Eastern region also has the highest poverty levels in the country with 42% in rural and urban areas, while the Karamoja subregion stands at 61%, Bukedi (48%) and Busoga (42%). %).