Sugar companies under the their umbrella group the Uganda Sugar Manufacturers Association (USMA) have petitioned Parliament put stringent measures on the sugar bill with a tough clause barring sugar factories away from unrecomended areas.
The sugar companies members were appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on Trade, Tourism and Industry chaired by the MP for Fort portal Municipality, Alex Ruhunda, to give their position on the sugar bill which is under scrutiny.
Commenting on Section 13 (2) of the sugar bill the chairman of the USMA who is also the Director Madhvani Group, Jim Mwine Kabeho, proposed that if a sugar company establishes a sugar milling factory in a wrong place, they should be charged a penalty fee of 500 million shillings instead of 10 million shillings as proposed in the bill.
The bill seeks to license only one sugar milling factory in a zone of 25km radius and a minimum distance between any two sugar mills to be 50 km
Mwine said that due limited sugar cane supply, companies are facing, there are no more hopes for export of sugar yet sugar industries had doubled, adding that cane realization from 1 acre where 35 tones expected has reduced to 20 tones justifying the sugar shortage.
He noted sugar Cane age harvest used to be at 18 months but now has gone to 12 months which gives out low sugar production for the market because of harvesting under age sugar cane.
Mwine said that Uganda sugar price is the highest in the world because the cane price from the sugar farmers has gone to the alarming cost forcing sugar price going up.
He noted that a cane price is now at 175 shillings because of its shortage at the farmers gardens.
Mwine also revealed that sugar cane farmers lose an average of 4 tons of sugar per hectare per month because of harvesting the underage cane.