The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has beseeched sugarcane growers to embrace value addition to avert relying on outgrowing for sugar factories.
Kadaga was speaking at the launch of Busoga Cooperative Sugarcane value addition incubation centre in Kitayunjwa, Kamuli district.
Speaker Kadaga said she interfaced with Dr. Grace Nambatya who informed her that there is a lot of value addition that can be done to sugarcane production, which prompted her to work with Dr. Nambatya to start up the value addition centre in Kamuli.
“We can make a cottage industry out of the byproducts of sugarcane and make money. You can generate jobs out of the things you can do with bagasse instead of throwing it away,” she explained.
Kadaga urged the sugarcane growers in Kamuli to buy all the necessary machinery and equipment so that they make their own products instead of applying for a license to grow sugarcane and supply it to factories.
“There is a lot of money you can make from making of mats, paper bags and sanitary towels out of bagasse, the fibre that remains after extracting juice from cane,” she further noted.
Dr. Grace Nambatya, the Director of the Natural Chemotherapeutic Research Institute (NCRI) showcased machinery that processes sugarcanes to produce sugar cane juice
She said that the juice can be consumed and is useful in fighting cancer, cleaning of teeth and cures bad breath, and the sugarcane that has been used to extract juice can be turned into toilet paper.
“There is a manually and electronically operated sugarcane juice extractor which squeezes juice out of the sugarcane that is healthy for consumption by a diabetic person as well. The juice can be used to make cough syrup, feeds for cows and other sugarcane byproducts,” Dr. Nambatya noted.
Sugarcane outgrowers have been subject of debate in the recent Sugar Bill 2016, which the President didnt assent to and instead asked Parliament to reconsider and provide zoning of sugarcane growing and production.
The Bill sought to provide for the development, regulation and promotion of the sugar industry to ensure that there is sustainable, diversified, harmonized, modern and competitive sugar sector.
In the Bill, government had proposed zoning of 25km between mills with no more than one mill in that zone with outgrowers in that area only supplying sugarcane to it.
However, the MPs disagreed with the government proposal saying that zoning would allow one manufacturer to monopolise sugarcane production in an area, which would lead to unfair prices to farmers and negatively affect outgrowers.