UCDA to establish a Shs.1 billion regional coffee learning hub at MUST

MBARARA – Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) is in collaboration with Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) to construct a coffee learning hub at Kihumuro Campus on Mbarara-Bushenyi road.

In a letter dated 10th January 2022, addressed to the Vice Chancellor Mbarara University of Science and Technology, UCDA’s Managing Director Dr Emmanuel Iyamulemye requested for allocation of land for the establishment of a coffee learning hub at the campus.

“The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to request for allocation of five (5) acres of land at the MUST Campus along the Mbarara-Bushenyi road for establishment of the coffee learning hub. We will greatly appreciate the University Council’s positive consideration,” reads part of the letter.

According to Dr Iyamulemye, the proposal was derived from a meeting held on 8th June 2021 between the university council together with UCDA’s top officials.

“Reference is made to a meeting with the Chairman University Council of Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) and the Member of Parliament, Mbarara City North and myself on 8th June 2021,” he said.

During the meeting, Lyamulemye confirmed that a preliminary request was made for allocation of land for establishment of a coffee learning hub at MUST.

UCDA’s Managing Director adds that the proposed coffee learning hub will be established through joint funding at the cost of about Shs. 1.4 billion and will be implemented in a phased manner starting with an initial joint funding of USD 25,000 from the Inter Africa Coffee Organization (IACO).

“The rest of the resources will be financed from UCDA annual budgetary allocations,” said lyamulemye.

He further said, the coffee learning hub will consist of a coffee demonstration garden, training centre, coffee roaster, a café, conference facilities and office space for UCDA Regional office for South Western region.

According to Dr lyamulemye, the coffee learning hub will purposely implement the clause of research and development in the South Western region as earlier amended in the coffee law that was gazetted on 13th September 2021.

It will also include; a laboratory for coffee quality analysis for pre-export certification for cooperatives and export companies operating in the region.

“The coffee learning hub will provide space for research, training and skilling in coffee value chain to students and members of Mbarara University Coffee Club,” says lyamulemye.

Dr Robert Mwesigwa Rukaari, area MP Mbarara City North who also doubles as the National Chairman Entrepreneurs League welcomed the development in his constituency saying that it will be part of employment to the growing youthful population in Mbarara City.

“Comrades, as I mentioned last year. We now want to set up a coffee learning hub at MUST to train our youths as coffee baristas. This is an employment opportunity for the youths as part of industrialization,” says Rukaari.

However, speaking to some of the university staff members who asked for anonymity, they said they were not convinced with the way the top management is awarding the little land they have to the government yet at first the university got it from the government.

“Awarding the university land to government parastatals is madness. How could that happen, the university is congested and we still need more land for expansion,” said a university staff.

“Is the chairman of council equal to the entire council members? Then why doesn’t he consult his fellow council members before making any decision? Another university staff member angrily asked.

When asked about the development, Vice Chancellor Prof Celestine Obua only answered that the university still has much land to support government projects.

“Tell them not to get worried because we still have much unutilized land to develop. Secondly, Mbarara University is a government institution so we are there to complement each other but not to fight one another,” says Obua.


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President Museveni commissions 346 km roads in Bunyoro

HOIMA – President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni commissioned various roads measuring to 346 kms in the Albertine Graben worth billions of shillings.

The President commissioned the roads that include the 111km oil road Hoima-Kigorobya -Butiaba- Buliisa-Wanseko that was constructed at a cost of Shs 630 billion, the 69 km Kigumba-Masindi-Buliima road that was constructed at a cost of Shs 203 billion and the 66 km Buliima-Hoima-Kabwoya-Kyejonjo road that was constructed at a cost of Shs 1413 billion all measuring 235km.

Hoima-Kigorobya -Butiaba- Buliisa-Wanseko was constructed by China Communication Construction Company Limited, Kigumba-Masindi Buliima, Kabwoya was constructed by China Railway No 5 Construction Company and Kabwoya-Kagadi-Kyejono roads was constructed by Shengli Engineering Construction (Group) Co. Ltd under the supervision of Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA).

After commissioning the roads, President Museveni addressed the Bunyoro region leaders at Bwikya Muslim headquarters in Hoima City.

In his speech, Museveni expressed concern over some groups of people misleading the public that the road infrastructures have been developed due to oil and gas discovery.

He noted that the Kigumba-Bulima-Kabwoya, Kabwoya-Kyejonjo, Bubende- Kakumiro-Kibaale Kagandi roads, Hoima-Kiboga-Kampala and Masindi -Kafu roads were meant to be constructed with or without oil.

He further said, these roads were under the National Road Network Plan to link Northern to Western Uganda to promote, trade and tourism from Queen Elizabeth National Park to Murchison falls National Park.

“It is wrong to say that these roads were constructed due to oil and gas discovery, so you mean that if Bunyoro had no oil, the government wouldn’t have constructed roads in this area? No, this is not true, some of the roads we are commissioning today are oil roads and others were in our National Road Network Plan. So, you should explain to our people about this,” the President explained.

He added that the government has mobilized funds to work on other roads which are not oil roads such as the -Ndaiga, Birembo-Nkoko-Ntwetwe-Masode roads and Karuguza-Kyegegwa- Kabogole-Burunga and Kazoo among other.

Museveni explained that the National Resistance Movement (NRM) has paid the road debt for Bunyoro and therefore the people of Bunyoro should use the roads wisely to cause socio-economic transformation.

He also said that there is need for the people of Bunyoro to embrace commercial farming if the roads are to create impact to the Kingdom subjects.

He challenged the political and religious leaders to mobilize people to embrace the four-acre model to ensure that people move out poverty. Under this model, the president encouraged every Ugandan who wants to move out poverty to at least have one acre of coffee, fruits, food crops, and rear cows for milk, poultry and piggery.

President Museveni noted that intensive and extensive agriculture should be embraced despite the existing good roads infrastructure. He also noted that Uganda is now peaceful adding that the availability of peace and improved infrastructures should be used to promote development of the region.

Meanwhile, Asinasi Nyakato, the Hoima City Woman MP petitioned the President to intervene and order the payment of residents who were affected by the construction of several roads that have been tarmacked.

She noted that the people who were affected by the Hoima-Kaiso-Tonya roads have spent more than 10 years demanding for their compensation but there is no one to respond to their demands.

Though they had denied her a chance to speak, Nyakato moved to the front and whispered to the Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja about the issues despite calls from NRM leaders stopping her.

Nabbanja asked Nyakato to write to her office promising that all unpaid PAPs will be paid soon.

Nabbanja commended the government for the construction of the roads adding that the region has been longing for such infrastructure. She said that the development in region are as result of visionary leadership of NRM adding that she is impressed with the good infrastructure across the country.

Speaking at the same function Fred Byamukama, the State Minister for works raised a red flag against the theft of road signs on various roads in Bunyoro region and the country at large. He says, the theft of road signage is dangerous for road users.

Byamukama also expressed concern over the increased encroachment on roads reserves in the country. He said the two vices cost the government millions of shillings in compensation and replacing vandalized roads signs.

He called on leaders to mobilize the locals to own these roads and use them profitably.

He noted that Bunyoro region has so far 800km of improved roads infrastructure which he said will help in transforming the region and facilitate agricultural and oil and gas sectors which are in line with the NRM manifesto.

Byamukama appealed to the leaders and the locals to jealously guard the roads and stop destroying the road signs. He also warned the heavy trucks drivers to stop overloading on these roads adding that this challenge is affecting the lifespan of the roads.

Matia Kasaija, the Minister for Finance also said, that the commissioned roads in the region will help to provide regional integration with DRC and Rwanda and also facilitate oil activities.

He added that the roads will also help provide production and industrialization of the oil sector.

“The roads will enhance socio-economic transformation among the people and ensure growth and economic development,” he noted.


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More than 1,000 households face eviction from their land in Masindi

BULIISA– More than 1,000 families in the two villages of Booma and Watembu in Butiaba Town Council, Buliisa district are at a risk of being evicted from their land.

This is according to the Masindi Chief Magistrate’s judgement that was delivered by Justice Deogratius Ssejemba in favour of Francis Kahwa Balam.

In 2014, residents of the said villages went to Masindi Magistrate’s Court challenging Kahwa over ownership of over 500 acres of land in Butiaba Town Council in the same district.

The residents accused Kahwa of fraudulently obtaining the land.They contended that Kahwa doesn’t have documents authenticating his ownership of the acres in question.

“Kahwa has no land in the area,” the angry residents told theCooperator outside court.

According to Amos Bazaale, a resident of Booma village, the land in Buliisa district is customarily owned and he is wondering how he obtained it.

“We are going to appeal against this judgement. This judgement is unfair because more than 1,000 households are at a risk of being evicted. There is no justice in this ruling. There is injustice in this ruling. The government should intervene and save the people of Buliisa against grabbers,” he added.

Simon Byenkya Musiimo, an elder explained that in 2003, President Museveni asked the Basiimo Clan to donate land for government to establish a Military Training School in Butiaba saying, in 2006 President Museveni visited the same area and the boundaries were made between the community and barracks.

He added that they were surprised when they saw Kahwa deploying armed soldiers to undertake a survey for the remaining piece acres.

Byenkya told theCooperator that when they asked Kahwa for a survey report of his land application; to their dismay, Kahwa didn’t give a convincing answer.

“Kahwa doesn’t have any documents about the ownership. I am wondering how Kahwa is claiming land ownership in this area and yet he doesn’t have any binding document,” the elder added.

However, Francis Kahwa Balam, told journalists that he compensated the land owners noting that those claiming the acres in question are the owners.

”I compensated the land owners, those making claims are not owners. Those who occupied the land were paid. I am happy since the ruling has been delivered in my favour, ” a happy Kahwa explained.


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Indian investors seeking investment opportunities in Acholi sub-region

ACHOLI – A group of Indian investors are in search for potential investment opportunities in Acholi sub region.

In December 2021, a delegation representing a group of more than 2000 investors in New Delhi, India visited Gulu City to meet leaders from the sub region.

Acholi sub-region is gifted with fertile land and requires technological investments to meet its commercial agriculture potential.

Agriculture is a key potential area that the investors talked about at the meeting that took place at Gulu City yard.

Jignesh Panchal, the head of the delegation comprising of small and medium enterprise owners in India says, they are interested in understanding the available investment opportunities in the region; ranging from agriculture, value addition, education, machineries among others in a sub-region that is steadily recovering from the impact of a 2-decade war.

“Our major reason for visiting this area is to understand the available investment opportunities given the rich and available fertile land in the region,” Panchal says.

Sunil Kumar Tada, an Indian investor based in Gulu City says there are huge investment opportunities including education, health, hospitality among others that are yet to be properly tapped into in Gulu City and the region.

“Currently, hundreds of parents take their children and relatives to learn and receive treatment from Central Uganda, mainly Kampala because there is still a huge gap in the two sectors to be filled in the sub region,” Kumar cites.

The delegation that held a meeting with Gulu City officials at the Gulu City yard is also expected to meet President Museveni on the 8th of December this year.

Moses Otimong, the Acting Gulu City Town Clerk says, Gulu’s strategic positioning to the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan makes it even a better investment location in the region, given its available market.

According to Otimong, many of the local investors in the region are doing low scale business probably due to limited knowledge and financial might.

“If we can have such investors coming into the region to partner with our local investors here; we could see an exponential growth in businesses especially in the agricultural sector which seemingly is lagging behind due to limited knowledge, exposure and finances compared to other parts of the country,” Otimong noted.

Samuel Oduny, the City Councilor representing the elderly persons says, with the current stability in government and assured security, investors can easily be swayed into investing even in the most rural environments of the region.

Simon Wokorach, the Member of Parliament for Aswa County in Gulu District says, whereas investors are continuing to hunt for investment opportunities in Acholi sub-region, local leaders should ensure that the land acquisition protocol is observed so that the communities are not cheated of their land as has been the case in the past.

Recently, Ker Kwaro Acholi (KKA), the Acholi cultural institution and the Acholi Parliamentary Group (APG) tasked all the district councils in Acholi sub-region to pass out by-laws regulating land acquisition.

Several investors have tried to access land in the sub-region but faced stiff rejection from the community and local leaders on their approach to acquiring land.

The Madhvani Sugar Project in Lakang, Amuru district is among the investors whose projects dragged on for close to a decade before government finally took over the land.

Wokorach says, such past scenarios have also played a role in discouraging investors from coming to the sub-region.

“If we follow the right procedures, local leaders will not have any problems with the investors because they will be bringing money to our community members,” said Wokorach.


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