On Tuesday, millers in Busoga Sub-region announced that they would be buying sugarcane from outgrowers at Shs104,000 per tonne, down from Shs110,000.
The chairperson of Sugarcane Manufacturers’ Association, Mr Jim Kabeho, on Wednesday attributed the reduction in the price to low sales.
“We are facing a problem of lack of sales and were compelled to reduce the price of sugar. Now we have reduced the price of its raw materials because exported sugar was almost stopped, so it is a big problem,” he said.
Mr Kabeho further noted that imported sugar has also affected their market.
“We have a lot of imported sugar in the bonds and we have engaged Uganda Revenue Authority and the Ministry of Finance, but they have not responded positively.
According to him, since the supply for sugarcane is higher than demand, prices have to automatically reduce.
Mr Musa Kabugo, a sugarcane farmer in Jinja District, said the continued reduction of sugarcane prices is a total loss to them because the profits are too little compared to production costs.
“When you deduct costs on planting, harvesting, loading and unloading, we end up getting only Shs100,000 as profits after waiting for 18 months for the sugarcane to mature,” he said.
Ms Justine Naigaga, a sugarcane farmer in Mayuge District, said government should implement its pledge of setting up a factory for farmers.
“Unless we add value to our sugarcane by setting up our own factory, millers will continue giving us peanuts yet we spend a lot of money in production,” she said.
The spokesperson of the Busoga Sugarcane Outgrowers Association, Mr Godfrey Naitema, said they are making losses with the continued reduction in sugarcane prices. “We are no longer benefiting because millers have been buying the cane at Shs110,000 but we have been operating under losses expecting that manufactures will increase the prices any time. Deducting Shs6,000 is a lot of money,” he said.