Sugar and Allied Industries Limited (SAIL) intends to set up a sugar factory in Busoga by January 2013, according to the company’s top management. The company also plans to build a power plant to produce 12 MW, some of which will be connected to the national grid.

“As soon as sugar production commences in January next year, we shall use the bagasse to produce electricity of not less than 12 megawatts,” Syed Akhter Abbas, the general manager SAIL, said.

He added that preparations to launch the sugar plant on a 50-acre piece of land are on course. Already, Kakira Sugar Limited in Jinja is producing its own power using the same model. According to SAIL’s plans, the plant will consume 4MW of the power, while the remaining 8MW will be fed on the national grid.

SAIL is one of the plants that were licensed last year after an abrupt sugar shortage sparked off public acrimony. A huge section of the public still believes that speculators were behind the shortage. Other companies that government licensed include: Mukwano sugar industry in Masindi, Tirupati Development in Nakasongola, Uganda Crop Industries in Buikwe, Kafu Sugar in Masindi, Kamuli Sugar in Kamuli, Kenlon in Namasagali and Bugiri Sugar company in Bugiri. However, SAIL has not had it easy; there are a few disgruntled voices over the project.

“We shall not give out our land for a sugarcane factory or sugarcane plantation because the region has more than enough Sugar industries” vowed some residents of Namugongo sub-county, a few weeks before SAIL was licensed. Busoga already has sugar firms like Kakira, SCOUL, among others.

The region is already embroiled in battles for the rights over sugarcane outgrowers. And in some instances, the large sugarcane firms have petitioned government to stop investors from setting up a sugarcane company nearby. However, Syed Akhter says they are not in the region simply to make money, but also improve the lives of the people. On top of bringing power to the area, SAIL intends to build a hospital and work on the roads through their corporate social responsibility programmes.

source: observer

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