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Land Wrangles Frustrate Crop Farming in Wakiso :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Land Wrangles Frustrate Crop Farming in Wakiso

Some of the wrangles have ended in court and others, before the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire-led commission. They include cases of multiple sale of pieces of land, Land grabbing and forceful evictions, all centered on the absence of land titles.

Audio 9

Land wrangles are frustrating agricultural production in Wakiso District as more farmers lose ownership to landlords and investors. The most affected areas include Gombe, Busukuma, Kakiri, Mende, Masuliita and Namayumba, where, a number of squatters (Bibanja holders) have been evicted.

Some of the wrangles have ended in court and others, before the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire-led commission. They include cases of multiple sale of pieces of land, Land grabbing and forceful evictions, all centered on the absence of land titles. 

Benjamin Ssebadduka, an Agricultural Field Officer says that on average, three to four farmers are fraudulently evicted from their land on a weekly basis.

//Cue in………… (English) "You find that a farmer

Cue out …………in the hearts of farmers"//

//Cue in……….(Luganda) “Okusomozebwa okwamanyi

Cue out…… nosanga nti kikosa omulimi"

John Wamala, one of Wakiso based farmers explains how he lost three-quarters of his coffee plantation to a landlord.

"I had invested millions of money and before I harvested any coffee bean, the landlord asked me to either give up the largest part in exchange for the title of a small piece or I vacate the land," Wamala says.

WADIFA Secretary General Achilles Mugerwa explains that besides affecting individual farmers, the land challenges have also reduced agricultural production in the district.

//Cue in………. (English)"If you cite Busukuma

Cue out………. their income levels" // 

According to Wakiso district Production Officer Henry Lubulwa, the average acreage of arable land has reduced to below 1.2 acres from at least 3.5 acres five years ago

"Some years ago, our farmers could plant over a million seedlings of coffee but this has since reduced. Now they plant 400,000 coffee seedlings and of course this means coffee production in the district will be directly affected," he says.

He adds that as arable land decreases some farmers have shifted to livestock farming and cage fish farming which requires a small portion of land compared to crop farming.

He adds that Wakiso District has been receiving 30,000 mango seedlings, 18,000 citrus and 11,000 banana suckers from Operation Wealth Creation in recent years. However, this year, no single seedling has been requested for by the farmers.

But Wamala partly blames tenants for defying their landlords and failing to pay ground rent.

//Cue in………. (English) many landlords have sold

Cue out………. what they do is to sell off the land" // 

Jemimah Barisiyoy, a farmer from Busukuma also attests that many farmers are helplessly suffering.

//Cue in……….. (English) "As some farmers have 

Cue out…….it is a reduction in production"//

//Cue in……….. (Luganda) "Naddala abilimi abasiiga

Cue out………….. biba babyonona"

However, Barisiyoy says many landlords are not interested in ground rent but use suspicious means to threaten tenants into signing dubious agreements of sharing the land in given ratios.

//Cue in……. (English) "The land act tells us

Cue out ……… should be pain enough money"//

//Cue in……. (Luganda) "Mumateeka tuwulira

Cue out ………tenant abeera anyigirizidwa"//

Barisiyoy further appeals to the government to fast-track the land fund so that the poor tenants are cleared and get own land titles.

//Cue in…………. "We therefore appeal

Cue out ……….least progressive"//

The Land Amendment Act 2007 gives priority to sitting tenants in case the landlord wants to sell his land. Lawful tenants can only be evicted for non-payment of ground rent, and a registered tenant can only be evicted upon presentation of a court order.

According to the act, eviction without a court order is a criminal offence and attracts a prison sentence of up to seven years.

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