The Government of Uganda stands to lose Njeru Stock farm land and other facilities to land grabbers.
This was revealed by the Executive Director of the National Animal Genetic Resource Centre and Data bank (NAGRIC), Charles Lagu, to the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture on Tuesday, 18 September 2018. The Committee is on a fact finding field visit to government stock farms in eastern Uganda. The land in question is located in Njeru Municipality, Buikwe district and was developed in 1949.
The land totaling 1,066 acres was leased by the colonial government from Ham Mukasa for a period of 99 years.
The committee chaired by Hon. Okori-moe Janet (Abim district) was directed by the Speaker to assess issues affecting all government stock farms across the country and suggest how they can be revamped..
The committee noted that Njeru Stock Farm is one of the farms under the National Animal Genetic Resource Centre responsible for breeding of animals.
The Agriculture committee was however, surprised to learn that the farm land which stands in balance was the basis on which the African Development Bank granted a loan to government to rehabilitate all farms in Uganda.
The committee further noted that due to the under utilization of the land, land grabbers have taken advantage to steal vast lands.
Njeru Municipality officials failed to turn up for the on-site meeting with the committee to explain why they failed to pay Ham Mukasa’s family despite the fact that Njeru farm had paid more than shs400 million in ground rent.
The family of Ham Mukasa sought redress and court ruled in their favour. The ruling leaves the stock farm in danger of being landless. However the Executive Director informed the Committee that there are negotiations that took place between government and the landlord.
The committee also visited Lusenke Stock Farm in Kayunga district located along the banks of River Nile.
The farm undertakes conservation and upgrade of the East African Short horn zebu and production of high quality animal feeds.
The major challenge faced by Lusenke farm is the heavy encroachment on the land and lack of housing facilities for staff.
The State minister for Agriculture, Animal industry and Fisheries, Joy Kabatsi reaffirmed Government’s commitment to revamping all government farms and warned encroachers to vacate immediately.
The committee also visited Kasolwe stock farm in Kamuli district, Bugabula county.
The committee was impressed with the activities on the farm, describing it as a success.
Bugabula North MP, Hon. Moses Kizige, attributed the success to the good will of the surrounding community that see the farm as an asset to them.
“Issues like land grabbing do not exist at Kasolwe farm due to our strong culture on land matters,” said Kizige.
Kizige however, expressed worry of investors who want to take over the farm adding that, ‘this will not be in public interest’.