Uganda: Local farmers failure to support rice project attributed to lack of information, including by the prospective investor

The failure by local farmers to support a rice project has been blamed for failure to adequately consult the local community and provide information, including the details of the prospective private investor.

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Article
20 April 2017

Expert says farmers rejected rice project due to lack of information on the project by govt. and investor

Author: James Wire Lunghabo, in Daily Monitor (Uganda)

"Why Butaleja farmers rejected the Shs26b rice scheme project"

An article was published in Daily Monitor (March 14, 2017) about Butaleja District residents rejecting a Shs26b project. Before anyone can jump to conclusions and call these residents all sorts of names, it is important to realise that short of following recommended procedures when dealing with communities, even well-intentioned projects are likely never to see the light of day...The approach taken by the authorities was crucial in shaping people’s perceptions. With very little information being put out about the planned project, the farmers were merely informed to get ready for the works. The lack of clarity of issues gave room for the usual detractors to step in and fill the void. Due to the guarded manner the district administration and some political leaders took when releasing information, the affected farmers became apprehensive hence making them suspicious of the intentions. Matters were made worse by the previous intention to sell off the rice scheme to an unindentified investor in 2016. It took a concerted effort of multiple stakeholders to stop this. So, once bitten, twice shy.

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Article
14 March 2017

Local farmers reject outgrowers rice scheme; say it will rob them of their livelihood

Author: Mudangha Kolyangha, Daily Monitor (Uganda)

"Residents reject Shs26b project"

Government’s plan to modernise Lwoba-Bwirya Irrigation Scheme in Himutu Sub-county Butaleja District hangs in balance after local farmers rejected a Shs26 billion project. The residents argue that government is targeting to grab their land. “We entirely depend on this scheme for our livelihood. So by allowing government to take over its management is like sending us to commit suicide” Mr Gamole Wabweyo, the farmers’ chairperson, said during the meeting...

According to the framers, more than 3,000 residents depend on this scheme. However, the LC3 chairman, Mr Fabiano Higenyi, said government is not intending to grab people’s land as its being speculated by disgruntled politicians. Mr Higenyi revealed that the government only intends to modernise the scheme in order benefit farmers more. He said the project intends to develop infrastructure and water gate channels. “As a leader, it’s a critical moment for me because farmers are being misguided and have not understood the benefits of the scheme,” Mr Higenyi explained.

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