Patrick Jimmy Okema, the Aswa River Region Police Spokesperson reveals that their recommendations are based on thorough investigations that have undoubtedly pointed out to the factors causing the sudden fires.
Aswa River Region Police have made seven
strategic recommendations to avert rampant fire outbreaks in the sugar plantations
belonging to Atiak Sugar industry.
They include among others recruiting
a Community Liaison Officer, profiling all workers, building a watch tower,
outlawing charcoal burning around the plantation, installing fire breakers and urgent
resolution of worker’s grievances relating to wages.
This follows three separate fire outbreaks in
the plantations, which razed down an estimated 200 acres of cane belonging to
Atiak out Growers’ Cooperative Society towards the end of December 2019 and
early January this year.
This was the fourth fire incident within
a space of two years since December 2018 when 600 acres of sugarcane were burnt
down. The devastating effect of the fires is valued at Shillings 2.8 billion.
Patrick Jimmy Okema, the Aswa River Region Police
Spokesperson reveals that their recommendations are based on thorough
investigations that have undoubtedly pointed out to the factors causing the
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According to Okema, the management of Atiak Sugar faction has
been given various security measures including strengthening community liaison
department to create a conducive working environment to avert future fire
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Some local leaders including area MPs have
welcomed the police recommendations. Anthony Akol, the Kilak North MP agrees
with the recommendations, saying initially they blamed the fire outbreaks on
unresolved land disputes.
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Santa Joyce Laker, the Chairperson of Atiak Out Grower’s
Cooperative Society proposed creation of community vigilantes, crop insurance
and security cameras to help detect the fires to facilitate timely response
especially during dry seasons.
Mohammed Ahmed, the Director Atiak Sugar Project, said management
is already working with different stakeholders including police, community and
local leaders to harmonize their positions in order to put an end to fire
rejected some of the proposals by out growers regarding the acquisition and
installation of security cameras as impracticable solution to the fire
outbreaks given the remote nature of the project area and availability of
Established in 2016, the Atiak Sugar Project is owned by
Horyal Investment Holdings Company LTD covering at least 27,000 acres of land.
Government, through Uganda Development Corporation owns 40 percent stake in the
project after investing in it more than 75 billion Shillings.
factory, which is expected to begin production this year, employs over 1,000
workers and benefits more than 4,000 out growers from Gulu, Amuru, Lamwo and