Parliament approves Shs108bn for mechanization of Atiak Sugar Works project

KAMPALA – Parliament of Uganda has approved a total of Shs 108 billion in supplementary budget to fund the mechanization of Atiak Sugar Works.

The company sits on 60,000-acre piece of land in Pacilo, Atiak sub-county in Amuru district.

In September this year, while meeting the Members of Parliament from the Acholi sub-region, the Director in charge of Agriculture, Horyal Holdings, Muhamoud Abdi Mohamed said, they had incurred several losses due to human labor.

Catherine Lamwaka, the Vice Chairperson of the Trades, and Industry Committee says, the approved funds will be released to Atiak sugar factory if the governance and internal control mechanisms of the company will have been strengthened.

She further said, whereas the lease will see that the government interest is safe guarded, the committee also recommended that the government should carry out an assessment of Atiak Sugar Works with the view of expanding its share equity in the company.

Muhamoud Abdi Mohamed while addressing Members of Parliament in September this year said, they are only able to currently crush around 1.2 tons of cane but need at least 5000 casual laborers to cut canes to meet the 1600 tons of cane cuttings per day. The company has reportedly lost canes worth Shs 33 billion to frequent wild fires over the years.

According to Muhamoud, they will construct a 52km railroad, to import high performing machines such as 600 power horse tractors other than the current 75 power horse tractors, cane cutters and irrigation scheme built especially with the abundant water flow at river Unyama among others which will see them realize the target of crushing at least 1600 tons of cane with 1500 laborers.

Anthony Akol, the Member of Parliament for Kilak North, where the factory is located says, the focus of leaders will now change to advocating for more youths within the region to receive trainings so that they can benefit from such opportunities.

“Our focus will now change to seeing that if possible, the factory partners with some schools to train our youths in operating the machines planned for installation; so that more experience is gained to rubbish the previous scenario where casual laborers were imported from India. We have youths who only need to be taught how to operate the machines,” Akol said.

According to Akol, with farming mechanized, they are also going to check the cooperative societies on ground that the members have for a long time been complaining of corruption from their leaders, which have been denied and swept under the carpet.

“We have had several members of the cooperative societies complaining on how corrupt their leaders were. So, with funds already in the offing, we want to investigate and shake up the societies so that common members of the societies benefit from the sugar project,” Akol said.

Joyce Santa Laker, the Chairperson of Atiak Sugar Cane Out Growers Cooperative Society says, this is a huge step towards eliminating poverty because as farmers, they also felt the wrath of the slowness of the company to start large scale sugar cane production.

“Because Atiak Sugar Works is our biggest and only buyer, we were suffering because they lacked the much-needed machines. With government finally approving the needed funds, our plantations will also increase because we know that the need would have also increased and this means much more money for us,” Laker notes.

Between the Financial Year 2017/18 to 2019/20, the government of Uganda through the Uganda Development Cooperation progressively purchased and acquired 40% equity shares worth Shs 81 billion in Horyal Holdings before investing Shs 74.68 billion in loans to the factory and support to Sugar cane out growers in Amuru and Lamwo districts to sustain sugar cane supply. The government also gave Shs16 billion to the company to buy sugar cane from dealers from Busoga.

Buy your copy of theCooperator magazine from one of our countrywide vending points or an e-copy on

The post Parliament approves Shs108bn for mechanization of Atiak Sugar Works project appeared first on The Cooperator News.