Kinyara Sugar Limited lost 6.8 billion Shillings to fires that gutted sugarcane plantations in their areas of operations last season.
Records at Kinyara Sugar Limited indicate that the sugar company lost 1,700 hectares of sugar cane plantations to fires during the season. These majorly affected out-growers are scattered in various parts of Masindi district.
The burnt portions are usually sugarcanes that are nearing harvest or ready for harvest, according to the company management.
Sam Rugambwa, the Deputy Agricultural Manager at Kinyara Sugar Limited attributes the fire outbreaks to family wrangles and disputes, especially on the side of the outgrowers.
He says to curb the vice, the sugar company has acquired various firefighting equipment that has since been deployed in various villages where their out-growers are scattered.
Rugambwa says currently they have ten graders, water bousers and tankers that they deploy during the dry seasons to spray water and control fire outbreaks. They also have a standby fire brigade team.
Ravi Ramalingam, the General Manager of Kinyara Sugar Limited says fire outbreaks have drastically affected the company operations and put their business at a loss. He also called on the communities settling adjacent to their sugarcane plantations to be conscious and desist from unnecessary bush burning.
Ramalingam says currently they are working with the government to ensure that they completely fight fire outbreaks within their areas of operation adding that they have also embarked on community awareness campaigns to fight the vice.
He says the company intends to install early warning devices through periodic monitoring and surveillance to raise incident reports as one of the ways to combat fire outbreaks in the area.
He says the government should intervene in curbing the rampant fire outbreaks by providing long-term solutions to protect investments whether private or public through a government-public-private partnership.
However, some out growers who spoke to URN on condition of anonymity explain that some of the fires are set by disgruntled farmers who accuse the sugar company of delaying or declining to pay them for long periods of time.
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