By George Busiinge
Poaching has traditionally meant the illegal capture of wild animals,but it is now a new word in the sugar industry. Sugar cane poaching has emerged among big sugar millers. It refers to a practice in which emerging millers target established factories by buying sugar cane from out-growers supported by established factories.
Competition over sugar cane had in the past been limited to Busoga region in eastern Uganda where Kakira Sugar Works complained about new millers eating intoits 8,500 out-growers.But other big factories such as Kinyara Sugar in Masindi, western Uganda, face a similar challenge.
The competition has been extended to Masindi with sugar cane beinghauled all the way to sugar mills in Buganda and Busoga. The millers exploiting Kakira, Lugazi and Kinyara factories' out-grower system are reportedly paying morefor sugar cane hauled from Masindi.
It is common for travelers to northern Uganda to encounter long haulage trucks loaded with sugar cane from Masindi. Earthfinds could not reach Kinyara Sugar Limited's Corporate Affairs Manager, Kirunda Magoola, for a comment about the threat to their out-growers.
But Masindi Resident district Commissioner, Godfrey Nyakuhuma has in the past called for an end to sugar cane poaching. Nyakuhuma said the practice could be a recipe for disaster for Masindi if Kinyara Sugar operations were affected.