Farmers in Buvuma   have started   planting their oil   palm as small holder   farmers under the   National Oil Palm   Project, Seedlings   were supplied to small   holder farmers by Oil   Palm Buvuma Limited   (OBPL) the 0il palm   nursery in Buvuma   district for immediate   planting., According   to Ms. Connie Masaba   Magomu, physical   planting kicked off   around April 2021   and expected first   harvest shall be in   the next three years.  

”We have started   physical field planting,   after 3 years the trees   will start bearing   fruits. In the next three   years OPBL will start   building a palm oil mill   in Buvuma that will   add value on oil palm   fresh fruit bunches or   produce crude palm   oil which will be then   taken to Jinja for   refining and producing   final products like   fortune butto and   others.” Said Masaba.   She adds that for   this to succeed and   ensure planting   happens, the National   Oil Palm Project   (NOPP) is working   with smallholder   farmers and has   already surveyed their   land for planting.  

“We have facilitated   processes to help   farmers establish   Buvuma Oil Palm   Growers Cooperative.   This will ensure taht   small holder farmers   have a voice, ensure   that their issues are   heard and also enable   the project to support   the farmers to access   good seedlings , have   access to fertilizers,   to technical support,   have a loan facility   that they will be able   to repay after they   start selling their fresh   fruit bunches and this   loan facility will be   able to help establish   their plantations.”   Explains Masaba  

In Kalangala,   Government of Uganda   through the Vegetable   Oil Development   Project (VODP 1&2) gave   loans worth 53 billion   UGX but as we speak,   farmers have already   paid back over 40   billion UGX , this is an   indicator that Oil Palm   as a crop can greatly   transform livelihoods.   Masaba says, despite   the positive strides   in ensuring planting   kicks off , there are   challenges of land   acquisition. Many   farmers in Buvuma have   voluntarily availed land   to establish nucleus   estate plantations. This   is attributed to the good   working relationship   with the community   and district authority.  

“We have 5000   hectares of the nucleus   estate land in Buvuma.   Land acquistion had   a number of issues.   There are very many   people who were   settling on it, for   instance you find the   land owner, tenants,   squatters, licensee so   we really had issues with   them but now we have   been gradually sorting   them, Government of   Uganda compensated,   those who accepted on   willing seller willing   buyer principle. Those   who would refuse were   left with their land.”   explains Masaba.  

Masaba adds that   under the NOPP   arrangement, everyone   that gives out land is   paid and there is no one   that is forced to give up   their land. Every one   that was paid gave out   their land genuinely   and was not forced.  

According to Serunjoji   Wilson , the NOPP focal   person of Buvuma,   most people that were   compensated for their   land have since settled   elsewhere and their   lives have changed.   Some built houses   whilst others have been   able to reconstruct   their lives and others   are working with   the Nucleus estate.  

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