Buvuma Oil Palm Out Growers asked to reserve land for subsistence farming as they Prepare for Longterm Harvest

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Over 200 registered out growers verified to participate in the first phase of setting up oil palm plantations in Buvuma district are guided to spare land for subsistence farming as they prepare for the long term harvest of oil palm. 

Buvuma residents embraced the introduction of oil palm growing. However there has been a concern among leaders on how the district can maintain its food security in its transit from the substance farming to a perennial cash crop.

The district’s major economic activities include fishing however statistics at the district indicate that about 40 percent of fishermen have abandoned the lake in the last two years complaining of scarcity of fish and the army operations against illegal fishing methods that have been indiscriminate and in many cases reckless.

Besides fishing, Buvuma residents also practice farming however a lot of their prime land was bought off by the National Oil Palm Project-NOPP to establish a nucleus estate for the investor, Buvuma Oil Palm Uganda Limited-BOPUL a subsidiary of Oil Palm Uganda Limited and Bidco Uganda Limited in Kalangala. 

    Juliet Mbabazi a resident at Walwanda in Buvuma town council says she sold off part of her land to NOPP at 18million shillings from which she secured another acre of land in Buikwe district where she has setup a banana plantation.

She remained with two acres at Buvuma for oil palm growing. Mbabazi has hope that the project will change their standard of living after sometime.

“It has been expensive for us to transport crops such as cassava, sweet plantains [bogoya] and sometimes charcoal and save enough to cater for our family needs but so far we have hope that our life style will change for the better.” 

Another farmer and also the chairperson of Buvuma Oil Palm Out-growers Association Salimu Mayiso says since the introduction of oil palm at Buvuma, several residents have already started experiencing transformation in their lives.

He cites over 100 youths employed in Buvuma Oil Palm Uganda Limited-BOPUL nursery bed and others who properly managed the money received as compensation from land offered to the investor to establish a nucleus estate.

Development is now evident from the roads constructed and we hope for more to come, we are now dreaming of a situation to afford better education for our children among other things.”  

Sarasino Namuyimba Ssekajjolo the district speaker reveals that the district council tasked NOPP to ensure that there is food production in the district before undertaking further  programs.

Unlike in Kalangala district, where several farmers devoted all their land to oil palm growing, NOPP is ensuring that each out grower at Buvuma spares or secures an acre of land for growing food. Wilson Sserunjogi, the District Oil Palm Focal Person says such land will help farmers during the time when they cannot practice intercropping. 

  After planting oil palm trees, farmers only take a period of about two years growing food crops until oil palm trees creates a thick greenery cover of leaves which does not allow sunlight to reach other crops underneath.

Oil palm trees takes 3-4 years to mature before the farmer starts the harvests every after 10 days, for a period close to 30 years receiving a monthly income.

This would mean that for` farmers without alternative land for food crops, their baskets go empty for a period of about one to two years until they start earning from the oil palm harvests to carter for their needs.

Out growers are required to set up oil palm gardens starting from the size of one to five acres. NOPP through International Fund for Agricultural Development-IFAD provides to them farm in-puts such as fertilizers and seedlings in form of a loan which they are supposed to pay off during the harvest periods.

The NOPP Agronomist Charles Ssembatya says farmers together with the investor have prepared the gardens to start planting in June. He notes that their technical team is also finalizing allocating quantities of farm inputs required.

In the first phase of planting oil palm trees at Buvuma, out growers will plant 500 hectares of their land and 1,400 hectares for the investor. 

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