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Bunyoro Sub-Region Dominates Sugarcane Production

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A recent study by Makerere University Economic Policy Research Centre has revealed that Bunyoro sub-region is currently at the forefront of sugarcane production. The study looked at various aspects of sugarcane cultivation and found that Bunyoro leads in terms of total cane yield, producing an average of 45 metric tonnes per acre. This is nearly double the yield of Busoga, which stands at 24 metric tonnes, and Buganda, which records 27 metric tonnes.

In addition to high yield, Bunyoro also boasts lower input costs compared to Busoga and Buganda. The region incurs input costs of Shs17 billion, while Busoga and Buganda spend Shs92 billion and Shs37 billion, respectively.

The study also indicates a significant expansion in Uganda’s sugarcane industry over the last two decades, with cane production increasing more than 380 percent, from approximately 1.5 million tonnes in 2000 to 5.8 million tonnes in 2020. This growth is attributed to the expansion of harvested land, which has expanded from around 20,000 hectares in 2005 to over 81,000 hectares in 2020. The establishment of new mills, especially in Bunyoro, has also attracted new sugarcane cultivators.

The research conducted by the EPRC was based on primary data collected through household and community surveys in late 2021. The study involved 1,771 households, of which 1,179 were cane growers, and 72 community interviews across 12 sugarcane-producing districts in the Busoga, Buganda, and Bunyoro sub-regions. Information was gathered through quantitative surveys, focus group discussions, and key informant interviews.

Moses Isoko Kalyegera, the commercial officer in charge of local government, attributed the increased sugar production in Bunyoro to the growing number of factories in the area, including Kiryandongo Sugar, Hoima Sugar, and Kinyara. Kinyara, in particular, has about 7,300 registered outgrowers in the region.

Aldon Walukamba, the Kinyara corporate communications officer, emphasized their investment in a three-tier nursery program to enhance cane yield. He mentioned that they provide agricultural inputs such as bio-products (fertilizers and pesticides), pest control agents, chemical fertilizers, and herbicides on a loan basis to outgrower farmers to support their production.