Attiak Sugar Factory Suffers Yet Another Fire

Jesse Johnson James

Attiak Sugar Factory on Tuesday suffered yet another fire outbreak that destroyed an unspecified quantity of sugarcane.

Dr. Amina Moghe, the Director of Attiak Sugar Factory, a subsidiary of Horyal Investment Holdings Company Limited told our reporter that the fire broke out at around 12:30pm but was ignored only to escalate.

Jimmy Patrick Okema, the Aswa River Region Police Spokesperson confirmed the incident saying a team of detectives was dispatched to the scene to carryout investigation.

Okema said no arrests had yet been made in connection with the fire incident.

This is the fifth time the plantation has been burnt in the last two years. Police suspects it’s the work of arsonists. In January this year, police arrested seven suspects on suspicion of being involved in the arson.

Anthony Akol, the Kilak North Member of Parliament, where Attiak Sugar is located, says the government through National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS)should insure the plantation from risks and install surveillance cameras.

“There is a plan to put surveillance cameras so that whatever direction one comes from, they can be seen,’’ said Akol who said most the sugarcane burning is from out growers.

“All those sugarcanes you see there belongs to the outgrowers under the program of NAADS, and that is why if the sugarcane are burnt, the people who are affected are the local people,” the MP said.

Joyce Laker, the Chairperson of Attiak Out Growers’ Cooperative Society says there is need to establish community vigilantes as the first line of defense to detect and pursue criminal elements setting sugar plantations on fire.

In December 2018, about 600 acres of sugarcane were burnt down. Since then, over 800 acres estimated at over 3 billion shillings have been destroyed by fires.

The Attiak Sugar Project established in 2016, covers up to 27,000 acres of land. Government through Uganda Development Corporation owns 40 percent share of the project after investing in it more than 75 billion shillings.

The Sugar sugar factory was expected to begin production this year. It employs 1,000 workers and benefitting more than 4,000 outgrowers from Gulu, Amuru, Lamwo and Adjumani districts.