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Maize is grown in many parts of Uganda, both as a food and cash crop. Because of the increased demand for maize by-products and consumption of posho, maize growing has become lucrative. However, many farmers are not benefiting much in terms of profits because they sell maize grains instead of adding value to the produce and selling maize flour.

The biggest challenge faced is the high milling costs as a result of high electricity costs.
Also, the long dry spells lead to crop failure since most farmers in Uganda depends on rain to grow their crops.

1. harvest the maize when it is dry and threshed it using a maize thresher.
2. The grains are then dried on tapelines to ensure that they don’t get soiled.

3.Then it is sieved to remove the chaff from grains.
4. It is then taken to the maize mill where it is milled according to the required grade.
5. It is then packed in bags of 10 kg, 25kg or 50 kg.

The sugar regulatory policy or Sugar Bill, 2016, has run into trouble, with the President objecting to the policy and throwing it back to Parliament. The point of divergence is that the President prefers allocating a specific area of sugarcane production to ‘the big historical actors’ or manufacturers to operate a sugar mill, jaggery mill or a plant to process by-products of sugarcane. But those opposed to the president’s stance say the ring-fencing only works to favor big sugarcane players at the expense of smaller or newcomer players.

Overall, the main objective of the Bill is good. It sets out to ensure that there is sustainable, diversified, harmonized, modern and competitive sugar sector to meet domestic, regional and international sugar requirements. But privileging by the Executive of the big sugar growers, or processors, or investors, who grow own sugarcane, risks generating negative unintended consequences.
And here is why.

First, Uganda runs a free market economy, with prices of goods and services determined by unrestricted market and choice of suppliers or consumers. Here the forces of supply and demand have been free from any intervention by a government, or by any other authority. But this new diktat in the Sugar Bill, 2016, now seeks to reverse this old practice. And as expected, problematic questions are already being asked. Why must the big historical sugarcane actors get this preferential treatment? Why is such discriminatory agricultural production policy not applied uniformly across the board to also protect big dairy farmers and their milk plants, as well as coffee farmers and their coffee hullers?

Why must free market forces be selectively DE legislated and enforced to operate in the sugarcane industry and no other agricultural sub-sectors? Why aren’t similar agriculture policies applied to kill off ‘small parasite new comers’ milk or coffee producers or suppliers and their plants within proximity of the big players?

Of course, the solid argument here is that the big historical sugarcane actors have invested in corporate social responsibility and have given back to neighboring communities. They have provided scholarships, built schools and health centers, and developed feeder road network. They also have out-growers bound by contract, who are now drifting to supply the new comers. Given all these, indeed, the old-timers risk laying off workers, scaling down sugar and biomass power production, etc.

But there cannot be one set of rules for the development, regulation and promotion of the sugar industry, and another for other agricultural sub-sectors. In sum, every sugarcane farmer sugar or manufacturer should be allowed free choice to grow and sell to or buy from the highest or lowest bidder as is the case with all other agricultural sub-sectors.


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